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Mark Brunswick

Reporter | Military Affairs
phone: 612-673-4434
Mark Brunswick covers military affairs for the Star Tribune. He has had assignments in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo and has focused on domestic issues related to PTSD, returning veterans, military recruitment and the new role of women in the military. Previously, he covered state government and politics from the Star Tribune's state capitol bureau in St. Paul.
Recent content from Mark Brunswick
Surplus military equipment brings police security, misunderstanding, headaches

Surplus military equipment brings police security, misunderstanding, headaches

White House limit on the use of some military equipment for police may sound more ominous than it is.
University of Minnesota trains new nurses to tend to veterans

University of Minnesota trains new nurses to tend to veterans

For the first time, the University of Minnesota School of Nursing is graduating a group of nurses skilled in tending to the health needs of the nation’s veterans.
Obituary: Orthopedic surgeon D. Keith Millett dies at 93

Obituary: Orthopedic surgeon D. Keith Millett dies at 93

Whether it was making late-night house calls or accepting chickens as a form of payment, Dr. D. Keith Millett was the kind of doctor seldom…
Minnesota kids are too fat to fight, retired military leaders say

Minnesota kids are too fat to fight, retired military leaders say

A group of retired generals and admirals says Minnesota's kids are too fat, eat too poorly, and don’t get enough exercise to qualify to join the military. They're calling for more physical education classes, better school meals and more community fitness trails to get kids in fighting shape.
40 years after Vietnam, veteran from Ramsey faces one last battle

40 years after Vietnam, veteran from Ramsey faces one last battle

Larry Stigen finally got VA benefits for PTSD; now he is fighting his discharge status

23 pairs of combat boots at Capitol to carry anti-suicide message

A group of veterans advocates is planning to bring 23 pairs of combat boots to the State Capitol next week.It’s estimated that 23 veterans a…

Globe University, Minnesota School of Business close controversial criminal justice program

Criminal justice students say they have been left in the dark about their futures.
Obituary: Engineer Ross Jordan tinkered with Apollo space program, home inventions

Obituary: Engineer Ross Jordan tinkered with Apollo space program, home inventions

Ross Jordan was an engineer in every sense of the word: whether it was working on the Apollo space program at Honeywell, coming up with…
'Vetrepreneurs:' More veterans start their own businesses

'Vetrepreneurs:' More veterans start their own businesses

Vets are 45 percent more likely to be self-employed.
No. 11: Willmar man masquerading as an Army hero may trade uniform for prison garb

No. 11: Willmar man masquerading as an Army hero may trade uniform for prison garb

Richard Arthur Rahn is behind bars, charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Local authorities are forwarding their investigation to a federal prosecutor for possible action over fraudulent use of a military uniform, insignia or medals.

Military beat: Dangers abound for soldiers deploying to Ebola-stricken Liberia

Some lessons about what members of the Minnesota-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division might expect during their deployment to Ebola-stricken Liberia next year, courtesy of…
VA inspector general will investigate claims about Hibbing VA

VA inspector general will investigate claims about Hibbing VA

The VA’s inspector general to study alleged appointment irregularities at request of state’s congressional delegation.
Elected leaders meet with Hibbing VA workers over scheduling concerns

Elected leaders meet with Hibbing VA workers over scheduling concerns

Ex-workers air complaints of hostile work environment, schedule backdating.

Military beat: Short films about Iraqi refugees in the Twin Cities to premiere

A series of short documentaries about Iraqi refugees in the Twin Cities is scheduled to be shown next week. Local filmmaker Nate Fisher has collaborated…
Minnesotans in Congress seek probe of Hibbing VA clinic allegations

Minnesotans in Congress seek probe of Hibbing VA clinic allegations

Inspector general probe would investigate scheduling irregularities at a Hibbing VA clinic.
Liberia-bound Minn. soldiers will have 21-day monitoring

Liberia-bound Minn. soldiers will have 21-day monitoring

As an extraordinary precaution, members of the Minnesota National Guard who are scheduled to deploy to Ebola-stricken Liberia early next year will be subjected to a 21-day period of observation when they return, with their temperatures taken twice a day and doctors monitoring them for symptoms.
Ex-employees at Hibbing VA say they backdated appointments

Ex-employees at Hibbing VA say they backdated appointments

Former employees at Hibbing clinic said they were told to change appointment dates to meet the 14-day rule.
Obituary: Jane Noland wrote 'bear books' to inspire those recovering from addiction

Obituary: Jane Noland wrote 'bear books' to inspire those recovering from addiction

Expressing herself, whether in books or in song lyrics, came naturally to Jane Noland.That ability translated itself into writing, editing or collaborating on more than…
Pentagon puts Globe U., Minn. School of Business on probation

Pentagon puts Globe U., Minn. School of Business on probation

Globe University and the Minnesota School of Business are barred from taking some military tuition assistance pending investigation.
Oct. 5: Veterans at for-profit colleges often find diplomas come up short

Oct. 5: Veterans at for-profit colleges often find diplomas come up short

Taxpayers continue to spend twice as much on average to send a veteran to a for-profit college, even though up to 66 percent of those students overall withdraw without a degree or diploma.
Fallen soldier's dream to be realized after 11 years of work, red tape

Fallen soldier's dream to be realized after 11 years of work, red tape

New London family overcame bureaucracy to get plan for state park parking lot approved.
Inspector general: No evidence Minneapolis VA falsified records

Inspector general: No evidence Minneapolis VA falsified records

The announcement late Friday came after members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation requested an investigation into the death of Jordan Buisman
Sept. 23: Minnesota senators want answers about Marine's death

Sept. 23: Minnesota senators want answers about Marine's death

VA records show Jordan Buisman rescheduled his appointment four days after he died.
Sept. 5: Walz seeks inquiry of report that Mpls VA workers falsified records

Sept. 5: Walz seeks inquiry of report that Mpls VA workers falsified records

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz has sent a letter to the Veterans Affairs inspector general asking for a full investigation into allegations from two former Minneapolis VA employees that they were ordered to falsify records and maintain a separate secret waiting list for scheduling.
Sept. 12: 100 fed-up vets at Mpls. VA town hall meeting demand better care

Sept. 12: 100 fed-up vets at Mpls. VA town hall meeting demand better care

Town-hall meeting generates questions about wait times and accountability.

Minneapolis VA studying alternatives to pain meds

The Minneapolis VA Health Care System will participate in two major research projects focusing on non-drug approaches to pain. The Minneapolis Veterans Medical Center has…
Judge orders Sheriff Stanek to reinstate Iraq war vet's gun permit

Judge orders Sheriff Stanek to reinstate Iraq war vet's gun permit

Ruling could set a precedent for treatment of veterans, revoking licenses.
$35 million federal grant to complete expansion at Minneapolis vets' home

$35 million federal grant to complete expansion at Minneapolis vets' home

The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs has received a $35 million federal grant to complete the expansion of the Minneapolis Veterans Home, Gov. Mark Dayton…
Aug. 23, 2011: Cass Lake's fake soldier pleads guilty

Aug. 23, 2011: Cass Lake's fake soldier pleads guilty

After being honored as a hero, Elizabeth McKenzie, 20, admitted never serving abroad.

Primary care physicians could be key to preventing military suicide

September has been designated National Suicide Prevention Month by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA has a new public service announcement, “The Power…
Lt. Alicia Makoutz deploys as the only female pilot in the Minn. Air Reserves to fly C-130 cargo planes

Lt. Alicia Makoutz deploys as the only female pilot in the Minn. Air Reserves to fly C-130 cargo planes

Lt. Alicia Makoutz deploys as the only female pilot in the Minnesota Air Force Reserves to fly C-130 cargo planes.
Brainerd family's hunt for portrait of WWII gunner ends happily

Brainerd family's hunt for portrait of WWII gunner ends happily

Years-long search by Roy Schellin's family for his portrait by famed artist Charles Baskerville ends at the Pentagon. Schellin’s daughter went to Washington with her 13-year-old grandson last week to see the portrait hanging where it has been for decades.
Tons of military equipment donated to police, sheriffs

Tons of military equipment donated to police, sheriffs

Pine County has a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle. Rochester Police has an armored truck. The town of Royalton has a grenade launcher.

Vietnam vets with PTSD at greater risk of heart disease, study shows

The findings are specific to Vietnam veterans, but they are likely to have implications for post-traumatic stress treatment and disability-benefit programs for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

Regions Hospital launches new mental health program for veterans

Regions Hospital has launched a new mental health program for veterans that is believed to be the only one of its kind in the state.…
Somali activist, singer remembered in Minnesota for her bravery

Somali activist, singer remembered in Minnesota for her bravery

Somali singer, poet and political activist was remembered in her adopted home of Minnesota by those whose lives she touched.

Central America kids find it hard to seek asylum in U.S.

Unaccompanied children from Central America will find a tough time getting the asylum they are seeking in the United States, despite the violence and trauma…
Minn. investigates colleges' recruitment of vets

Minn. investigates colleges' recruitment of vets

The Minnesota attorney general contends that students, many of them veterans, can find themselves unable to repay federal loans, leaving taxpayers on the hook.
Obituary: 'Mr. Dodge' Don Bunn, 78, wrote 13 guides on trucks

Obituary: 'Mr. Dodge' Don Bunn, 78, wrote 13 guides on trucks

Don Bunn’s love for trucks led him to write 13 definitive books on the subject, mostly about Dodges. He was given the name “Mr. Dodge”…
ICE often frees criminal immigrants if homelands won't take them

ICE often frees criminal immigrants if homelands won't take them

Thousands of criminal immigrants have been sent back to the streets of this country in recent years because their homelands refused to take them back. Sometimes, the consequences have proved deadly.

Military affairs beat: 'Sesame Street' kit for military families

Today’s column is brought to you by the letters “M” and “F,” for military families.The folks at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind “Sesame Street,” have…

Military affairs beat: Dayton focuses on help for vets

Gov. Mark Dayton is focusing on veterans this week. On Tuesday, Dayton’s left hand was busy signing things. He signed legislation that makes October Veterans’…
Veterans criticize poor care at Hibbing's VA clinic

Veterans criticize poor care at Hibbing's VA clinic

One in a series of forums on veterans issues turned contentious on Wednesday for U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan as vets stepped forward to complain about local treatment at a Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic that has been the subject of criticism for long wait times and poor treatment.
Feds pull plug on moving Minnesota immigration office

Feds pull plug on moving Minnesota immigration office

The General Services Administration will move other government services to the new building on the outskirts of Bloomington and keep its U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices at its current location near the Mall of America and near mass transit.

Minnesota Chamber: Immigrant reform aids state economy

Bill Blazar is a numbers guy. So is the organization he works for — the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. Both say Minnesota needs some form…

Minn. legislators ask feds to rethink Bloomington immigration office move

Nearly two dozen state senators have joined call to reconsider moving.

Immigration beat: Economy in need of migrants, study says

A new report spells out the economic necessity of a growing immigrant population in the Midwest.Amid the heated debate about immigration reform there is some…
June 16: Medtronic pays $42.9 billion for Covidien

June 16: Medtronic pays $42.9 billion for Covidien

The deal will move Medtronic’s executive headquarters to Dublin, where it will enjoy substantial tax advantages.
Nov. 21, 2010: Women's distrust of VA hard to shed

Nov. 21, 2010: Women's distrust of VA hard to shed

Female vets bypass the care there, as attitudes and services are slow to catch up.
Minnesota vets recall costs, errors as chaos consumes Iraq

Minnesota vets recall costs, errors as chaos consumes Iraq

Many of the 88,000 Minnesotans who served during the two Gulf wars are watching with a mixture of regret and indignation.as old battlefields and old arguments flash across their TV screens while the Iraqi government flirts with collapse.

Military affairs beat Congress takes on vets’ care access

The problem of access to rural health care for veterans may be addressed in legislation being introduced in response to the ongoing ­Vete­rans Affairs scandal.…
Minnesota vets complain of poor service at VA clinic

Minnesota vets complain of poor service at VA clinic

The complaints about a clinic in Hibbing resemble problems evident at VA medical facilities across the country.

Richfield sexual-conduct suspect flees wrong way on I-494

A man trying to evade police drove the wrong way on Nicollet Avenue and Interstate 494 Sunday afternoon before fleeing on foot and being struck…

May 28: Work to begin at Fort Snelling on 58 apartments for homeless veterans

Ground will be broken later this week on new affordable housing for homeless military veterans and their families at Fort Snelling’s Upper Post.
Afghanistan, he survived. With his help, we did, too.

Afghanistan, he survived. With his help, we did, too.

But fate had a different, tragic plan for the spirited Sgt. Patrick Rix.

Minnesota delegation: Don't move Bloomington immigration office

New legislation also would stop U.S. from making this type of $14 million mistake again.
Woodbury man begins grueling bike race across America for vets

Woodbury man begins grueling bike race across America for vets

The race begins Tuesday and will end June 22 for 55-year-old Bob McEnaney, who grew up as a military child. Both his father and grandfather served as Army medics.
Ellison seeks change after detainee reports abuse

Ellison seeks change after detainee reports abuse

He toured Sherburne County jail, where student held for ICE reported sex assault by cellmate.

May 2, 1987: Police study new evidence in serial killings

Angela Green had no alcohol in her bloodstream when she was killed, evidence that is forcing Minneapolis police to broaden the scope of their investigation…

Immigration/Culture beat: GAO finds passport fraud still a problem

When the Government Accountability Office reviewed approximately 28 million passports issued in fiscal years 2009 and 2010, it found passports were issued to applicants who…
Quilts give vets a warm welcome home at war’s end

Quilts give vets a warm welcome home at war’s end

In every sense of the word, folks will make sure their troops get a warm welcome when a Litchfield-based unit of the Minnesota National Guard returns home in a few days from a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan.

Military affairs beat: Veterans prove to be tough lobbyists

Rep. Jerry Newton is no newcomer to Minnesota politics. He has twice served in the Legislature. But he admits he was naive when he thought…
Minneapolis VA defends patients' wait times

Minneapolis VA defends patients' wait times

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota, a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and a veteran himself, asked for an accounting of Minnesota VA wait time
'Best Warrior' competition tests fighting skills at Camp Ripley

'Best Warrior' competition tests fighting skills at Camp Ripley

Fourteen National Guard soldiers from seven states shot at targets with their M9 pistols and M4 rifles, navigated through the woods day and night, carried 60-pound packs for 12 miles and rescued decoy fallen comrades from helicopters under fire.

Rochester's Tortilleria Jalisco restaurant is front for tax fraud, feds say

Court papers call restaurant a front preying on immigrants.
University of Minnesota study finds Iraq, Afghan vets struggle with access to food

University of Minnesota study finds Iraq, Afghan vets struggle with access to food

Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are far more likely to have trouble getting enough food to eat than the average U.S. citizen.More…

ACLU calls for end of 'ICE holds' in Minnesota

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota sent letters to every county sheriff in Minnesota on Wednesday urging them to stop holding immigration detainees for…

Legislature OKs separate license plate for women vets

A bill that would establish license plates for women veterans in Minnesota has passed both the House and Senate and is heading to Gov. Mark…

Immigration and culture beat: Syrian activist will speak next week in Minneapolis

Syrian activist and citizen journalist Qusai Zakarya will be speaking in Minneapolis Sunday and Monday. Zakarya survived the August 2013 chemical attack in Syria, over…
Minneapolis group helps bridge education gap for Pakistani girls

Minneapolis group helps bridge education gap for Pakistani girls

The Minneapolis-based American Refugee Committee is working on bridging the gap, particularly among boys and girls through high school.

Mankato shooting victim identified, shooter unknown

A 22-year-old man from Bellevue, Neb., has been identified as the shooting victim who died after an altercation early Sunday outside a Mankato entertainment center.

Military affairs beat: Fate plays a role in finding 2 Marines

When last we left Patricia Boyd, she was desperately trying to find the relatives of two Minnesota Marines who had been killed in the 1983…
Sex abuse of detained immigrant in Minn. jail shows national pattern

Sex abuse of detained immigrant in Minn. jail shows national pattern

The case in Sherburne County highlights an emerging nationwide pattern of attacks in U.S. jails that contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Military affairs beat: Her mission: Find those who knew 2 fallen Marines

Pat Boyd is on another mission. For the past several years, Pat been the coordinator for a calendar celebrating the lives of Minnesotans who have…
Report: Minnesota not so nice to immigrants

Report: Minnesota not so nice to immigrants

The state fails to provide some basic protections to immigrants and refugees, report concludes.
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