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Local Soldiers Honored in St. Cloud

Minnesota National Guard Company B, 2-211 General Support Aviation Battalion (Justin LaBounty WJON)
Minnesota National Guard Company B, 2-211 General Support Aviation Battalion (Justin LaBounty WJON)

ST. CLOUD – The award-winning Minnesota National Guard Company was honored Saturday morning at River’s Edge Convention Center.

Twenty Soldiers from the Company B, 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion were recognized for their nine-month deployment to Afghanistan. The company flew over 3,000 aircraft hours and completed over 300 combat missions. They transported over a million pounds of cargo and flew over 100 operations in support of ground forces.

The company was awarded as the top Support Aviation Battalion in the Minnesota National Guard.

Bravo Company Commander Captain Nolan Kohlrusch says they do not put in all that work to receive awards, but this group deserves it.

“What an exemplary group of soldiers I got here. Nobody goes out specifically to get these awards, but the achievements these soldiers accomplished individually and together words can’t describe it.  It was a great honor for me and the leaders above me to reward these guys with some of the highest awards available”

The company is full of many amazing people who sacrifice a lot to go overseas. The families who they left also sacrifice a lot as well. Tom and Rhiannon Knutson recently returned from Washington D.C. as Rhiannon was being recognized for her efforts at home. While Chief Warrant Officer 2 Tom Knutson was in Afghanistan, Rhiannon was at home helping other military families.

Tom says it was motivating for him to know his Rhiannon was working just as hard at home.

“I remain vigilant because I have been in that situation. Her and I have been through a lot together. It is great that she can be that outside influence because she can recognize when people need that outside voice to go get help.”

Congressmen Tom Emmer showed up to show his support for Bravo Company. Emmer spoke directly to the returning soldiers and let them know we are all thankful for their service and sacrifice.

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