Progress Preview: Sgt. Send-off

Published 9:45 am Thursday, February 24, 2011

Editor’s note: Be sure to catch the full Progress Edition in the printed Sunday Tribune.

Sgt. 1st Class Milton Paulsen was stationed in Albert Lea with the Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment for 17 years before being transferred to battalion headquarters in Mankato less than one year ago.

Sgt. 1st Class Milton Paulsen is preparing for his second deployment overseas this spring. -- Michelle Haacke/Albert Lea Tribune

He served as a platoon sergeant with the unit during his first deployment to Kosovo from 2007 to 2008.

Paulsen is preparing for his second deployment in May, this time to Kuwait where he will support Operation New Dawn, which is the U.S. drawdown phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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As a platoon sergeant, it’s Paulsen’s job to make sure his soldiers have everything they need, from equipment and gear to food. He plans and decides exactly how assignments will be implemented.

He said during deployments, the separation from his family is the toughest part.

“I have a 3-week old granddaughter and will miss most of the first year of her life,” he said.

He appreciates the support from his family, friends and the community, especially for his wife and children here at home. He also appreciates having an understanding employer, as over the past year he was sent to help when the National Guard was deployed to Owatonna to assist during the floods, was in training for two weeks and participated in an exchange program in Norway.

“Things have changed a lot just in the past 10 years,” he said. “When I got in, you didn’t get deployed. Now, it’s like you’re playing backup quarterback for the Army — you have to be ready to support operations around the world.”

Hero: Milton Paulsen
Secret identity: platoon sergeant
Base of operations: Minnesota Army National Guard, Mankato
Superpowers: organized and flexible
Kryptonite: patience
Affiliations: Paulsen is married with three children and one grandchild.
Origin: An Albert Lea native, Paulsen graduated from Albert Lea High School in 1986. He joined the Albert Lea unit of the Minnesota Army National Guard in 1991. He lives in Albert Lea and is a mechanic at Ultimate Auto.