Unprecedented mission during unprecedented time for Minnesota National Guard

Jessica Miles
Updated: June 04, 2020 10:04 PM
Created: June 04, 2020 09:20 PM

For five days, citizen soldiers from all corners of Minnesota have been standing guard outside Children's Hospital in south Minneapolis.


They're serving an unprecedented mission during unprecedented times.

"Never have I asked my soldiers to come and say, let’s pick up what we need to do and take a mission in our own cities, there’s a different level of gravity when it’s on our own soil," Cmdr. Maggie Gregg said.

Gregg, Staff Sgt. Dan Hine and Staff Sgt. John Struemke all learned of their orders while at home Saturday, and were en route in hours.

An accountant by day, Hine got the call at 10:30 at night.

"You just grab and go. You wake up your kid and say goodbye and I'll see you whenever," he said.

Struemke has been deployed twice to the Middle East but says this mission is much different.

"It breaks the heart a bit to see the community hurt by everything that’s going on," Struemke said.

Minnesota National Guard troops are stationed outside the entrance to Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. | KSTP Minnesota National Guard troops are stationed outside the entrance to Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. | KSTP

Guard members are on patrol 24 hours a day keeping Children's Hospital — and the families who need it — safe.

"I really like it and appreciate their service," said one mom on her way into the hospital Thursday morning.

But they must also take their own health into account, many have been working from home, isolating due to coronavirus.

"I have a duty that I swore to do and so there will be time for me to worry about the other health aspects of it after the fact," Hine said.

Each will be tested for coronavirus before going home. Gregg described it as phase two of the mission these men and women have responded to, despite the risks.

"Everyone wants to be in on this, and it’s not for the guts and the glory or the call of duty aspect of it, but they want to be involved because we love Minnesota," she said.

"I pray that everybody can get through this that everybody, their hearts can get comforted, that we can come together and just heal as a community," added Struemke. 

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