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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
A Pearl Harbor survivor reflects on what might have been

A Pearl Harbor survivor reflects on what might have been

On the 75th anniversary of the attack Wednesday, the Richfield man is likely one of only three survivors to be living in Minnesota.
Feds end student aid for Globe U, Minnesota School of Biz

Feds end student aid for Globe U, Minnesota School of Biz

Globe University and the Minnesota School of Business no longer will be allowed to participate in federal student aid programs.

Crisis line for vets to get better oversight

President Obama signed into law last week a bill that will strengthen oversight of the veteran crisis line at the Department of Veterans Affairs. U.S.…
Minnesota tattooing project helps vets confront pain

Minnesota tattooing project helps vets confront pain

"Warrior Ink" project helps wounded veterans with a mix of tattoo artistry and good conversation.

Longtime Bemidji State football coach fired over reported racial slur

Coach Jeff Tesch was placed on administrative leave in August for reportedly uttering a racial slur in practice.

Report gives VA mail drug program high marks

More than 99 percent of veterans using an outpatient mail pharmacy program received their prescription packages within Veterans Affairs’ 10-day timeliness goal, according to a…
Funding is approved to keep Duluth zoo's doors open

Funding is approved to keep Duluth zoo's doors open

Viability of zoo is seen as critical to development along city's west end
GAO says Pentagon needs to do more about burn pit exposure

GAO says Pentagon needs to do more about burn pit exposure

The Pentagon needs to study the long-term health effects of exposure to the chemicals inhaled from burn pits at its overseas military bases, the Government…
Obituary: Richard Jamieson, award-winning Minnesota filmmaking pioneer

Obituary: Richard Jamieson, award-winning Minnesota filmmaking pioneer

The year was 1979, and the record album and phonograph needle were kings. But a prescient Richard Jamieson was asked about an emerging technology known…
Head of Minnesota National Guard gets reprieve on mandatory retirement

Head of Minnesota National Guard gets reprieve on mandatory retirement

An extension is granted until at least late 2017.

Anoka County wins federal grants for veteran, drug courts

Anoka County was awarded two federal grants this week that will allow it to launch a drug court and to expand its veterans court. The…
U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan grew up in Minnesota

U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan grew up in Minnesota

A 31-year-old soldier killed this week in Afghanistan grew up in Minnesota and his parents are well-known in the Marshall area, where his father is…
Medal of Honor recipients gather in the Twin Cities this week

Medal of Honor recipients gather in the Twin Cities this week

Medal of Honor recipients aim to promote courage, integrity.
$7.3M upgrade means airport in Rochester keeps global flights

$7.3M upgrade means airport in Rochester keeps global flights

New 20,000-square-foot project will provide for a passenger boarding bridge, a concourse holding room, baggage claim, improvements to security screening and more.
Vets left in limbo with ITT Tech closure

Vets left in limbo with ITT Tech closure

The abrupt shuttering of ITT Technical Institute, along with a recent court ruling putting in doubt the future of another for-profit school, is causing serious…
State moves to shut down Globe U, Minn. School of Business

State moves to shut down Globe U, Minn. School of Business

The revocation of their authorization to operate came after a judge ruled that the schools committed fraud in relation to their criminal justice program.
Memorial service held for former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. John Vessey

Memorial service held for former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. John Vessey

Gen. John “Jack” Vessey, a Minnesota native who rose to the highest ranks of the military to become President Ronald Reagan’s chairman of the Joint…

Federal probe addresses concerns about work environment at St. Cloud VA

The review found that top managers had made strides in increasing staffing levels and communication.
Work begins on $14.3M complex in Minneapolis for chronically homeless vets

Work begins on $14.3M complex in Minneapolis for chronically homeless vets

Veterans East will provide 100 units of housing on the Minneapolis VA campus.
VA doctor to research approaches to chronic pain

VA doctor to research approaches to chronic pain

A researcher for the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs hospital has been awarded a $12.5 million grant to compare approaches to pain management. The study comes as…
State's Gold Star families struggle with Trump remarks

State's Gold Star families struggle with Trump remarks

Some families are angry, uneasy and frustrated as they are thrust into an uncomfortable position of taking sides. It has also brought up the pain of loved ones lost to war.
MVP award, other trophies stolen from Roger Maris Museum in Fargo

MVP award, other trophies stolen from Roger Maris Museum in Fargo

A burglar broke into the Roger Maris Museum in a Fargo mall early Tuesday morning and made off with several pieces of memorabilia awarded to the baseball legend and Fargo favorite son..
Professor embraced the lives of world's women and children

Professor embraced the lives of world's women and children

As a child, Marilyn Cuneo dreamed of leaving home to travel the world. As an adult, she worked to bring the world back home. Through…
Walz launches bid for leadership post on House Veterans Affairs Committee

Walz launches bid for leadership post on House Veterans Affairs Committee

Minnesota Democrat makes a case to become the panel's ranking member.

Watchdog reports slap VA over crisis line, veteran benefits

Two recent watchdog reports on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) illustrate the complexity that often confounds those running such a large bureaucracy. The Government…
Gunflint Lodge in new hands after more than 80 years

Gunflint Lodge in new hands after more than 80 years

The lodge, which has been in the Kerfoot family since 1929, was sold last week to a couple who plan to continue its traditions and the outfitting operation on Gunflint Lake, 43 miles north of Grand Marais.

TV show helps local vet with home, vehicle repairs

Operation Build’s “I’m Coming Home” program will broadcast a three-part series airing on A&E and FYI next month on Scott Adams, a U.S. Army veteran…
Iraq, Afghan vets may have their own Agent Orange

Iraq, Afghan vets may have their own Agent Orange

While it took nearly three decades for the U.S. government to eventually link Agent Orange, the defoliant used in Vietnam, to cancer, President Obama has pledged quick action to make determinations about the effect of the burn pits on perhaps as many as 60,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Trump gave $100,000 to Twin Cities-based veterans group

The Twin Cities outfit got the money several months ago. It was part of the $5.6M he discussed Tuesday.
Alternate PTSD therapy ruffles VA feathers, but shows results

Alternate PTSD therapy ruffles VA feathers, but shows results

EMDR, which uses sensory stimulation to connect to triggers from trauma and neutralizes them, is getting results, according to a local nonprofit that offers it to vets.
State sues fundraiser for veterans' charity, alleging deception

State sues fundraiser for veterans' charity, alleging deception

Minnesota is suing its fundraising arm for deceptive practices.

Fund helps vets misled into using their GI Bill benefits

Four veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars recently were awarded $5,000 grants to help pay down student loan debt they racked up while attending…
Obituary: Robert Schumacher was a 'judge's judge'

Obituary: Robert Schumacher was a 'judge's judge'

From the value of the land of the Minnesota Twins stadium to disputes in lawsuits over Catholic clergy abuse, Robert Schumacher had a…
Push is on to restore, reopen bridge to Minneapolis Vets Home

Push is on to restore, reopen bridge to Minneapolis Vets Home

The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs is asking the Legislature for $7.8 million to redesign and renovate the closed bridge from 1908.
Suit alleges false claims, high-pressure tactics by for-profit schools

Suit alleges false claims, high-pressure tactics by for-profit schools

But the attorney for Globe University and the Minnesota School of Business painted a different picture in opening statements of a civil trial in Hennepin County District Court.
Suicide hits hard among ranks of Minnesota National Guard

Suicide hits hard among ranks of Minnesota National Guard

A father's despair over his son's death in Iraq drives home a crisis for the Minnesota National Guard, whose members have died by suicide more than all but one state Guard in the country in the past five years.
New flight plan for Duluth fighter wing

New flight plan for Duluth fighter wing

The Air National Guard's 148th will be on a "routine deterrence mission" in South Korea.
Sad state of Minnesota armories prompts a multimillion dollar plan

Sad state of Minnesota armories prompts a multimillion dollar plan

The Minnesota National Guard is closing 12 dilapidated armories as it upgrades facilities.
Minnesota veterans' kayaking program offers safe haven, camaraderie

Minnesota veterans' kayaking program offers safe haven, camaraderie

The group provides access to the programs throughout the year but uses the Edina pool every other Friday during the winter, providing a challenging but safe haven for veterans who might prefer one another's company away from the institutional surroundings of the VA.
Pengilly man's military legacy is restored after break-in

Pengilly man's military legacy is restored after break-in

Thieves took more than medals when they broke into Pengilly cabin.

Minneapolis VA cleared in three cases of alleged manipulation of patient appointments, wait times

Inspector general clears Minneapolis VA Health Care System in three cases.
Minnesota National Guard is working to diversify its ranks

Minnesota National Guard is working to diversify its ranks

After promotion, Sandy Best says she looks forward to day when it's commonplace.

Minneapolis VA plans Shakopee town hall

Minneapolis Veterans Affairs officials plan a town-hall meeting March 17 in Shakopee. The meeting is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. at the American Legion…
First female general in Minnesota National Guard announced

First female general in Minnesota National Guard announced

Col. Sandy Best will become the first female general in Minnesota National Guard history when she’s promoted to brigadier general, the Minnesota National Guard confirmed…
St. Cloud canine explosive detection company picking up local business

St. Cloud canine explosive detection company picking up local business

Dogs trained to detect bombs and drugs now in demand to fight domestic terror.
Obituary: Aveda chemist Patrica Peterson Werre had the right mix of talent, drive

Obituary: Aveda chemist Patrica Peterson Werre had the right mix of talent, drive

Patricia Peterson Werre loved the periodic tables. She had a blanket of the elements, a poster of them in her office and a coffee cup…

Criticism of Wounded Warrior Project hits home in Minnesota

One of the largest Minnesota contributors to the nonprofit Wounded Warrior Project says he will continue to support the charity despite news reports suggesting it…
St. Paul has been found violating state law for hiring veterans

St. Paul has been found violating state law for hiring veterans

Applicant was wrongly denied preference for hiring in a repeat offense.
Privacy violations on the rise at Minnesota's VA facilities

Privacy violations on the rise at Minnesota's VA facilities

The club seems to be getting bigger: veterans whose privacy has been breached by employees and contractors at VA hospitals, community clinics and benefit centers.
Federal immigration office will relocate to downtown Minneapolis

Federal immigration office will relocate to downtown Minneapolis

New location for Citizenship and Immigration Service offices will be downtown Minneapolis.
When words don't work, arts program can help heal veterans

When words don't work, arts program can help heal veterans

St. Paul-based program offers a new way to reach trauma victims.
Wayzata grad killed in Afghanistan is remembered for her discipline and quiet consistency

Wayzata grad killed in Afghanistan is remembered for her discipline and quiet consistency

Former Plymouth resident Adrianna Vorderbruggen was among six members of the American military killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan on Monday.
Minn. congressional delegation urges VA secretary to tour St. Cloud VA

Minn. congressional delegation urges VA secretary to tour St. Cloud VA

State's Congress members want him to show support for staff and patients.
Driver hurt in crash that ends St. Anthony police pursuit in St. Paul

Driver hurt in crash that ends St. Anthony police pursuit in St. Paul

Two people were injured Saturday afternoon after being involved in a high-speed police chase in a suspected stolen car. Two squad cars from the St.…

Calendar of fallen soldiers a labor of love and duty

Patricia Boyd has made it her mission to make sure Minnesota’s fallen military members are not forgotten. For several years she’s been the leader behind…
Oh, yes, she can! Dayton changes rule to allow state worker to volunteer for Red Cross

Oh, yes, she can! Dayton changes rule to allow state worker to volunteer for Red Cross

State employee had been barred from using leave for special counseling gig.
Corrections Dept. doesn't consider counseling vets disaster relief

Corrections Dept. doesn't consider counseling vets disaster relief

When therapist Shelley Koski sought approval from her bosses to use leave for a Red Cross workshop for returning veterans and their families, the department said no.
Edina Boy Scout goes beyond call of duty to help vets

Edina Boy Scout goes beyond call of duty to help vets

Teen who collected 150 bags of dry goods for local veterans is storing the bags in his basement until a local nonprofit can accept his donation.
Veteran not guilty in killing; Mankato jury blames battle trauma

Veteran not guilty in killing; Mankato jury blames battle trauma

Jurors agreed with Levi Minissale's lawyers, who claimed his service in the Marines and the "kill" mentality he learned pushed a man with history of psychosis to stab ex-girlfriend to death and attempt to kill her husband.
Obituary: Sharon Olson was a pinup model for famed glamour artist Gil Elvgren

Obituary: Sharon Olson was a pinup model for famed glamour artist Gil Elvgren

When Sharon Olson walked into a room, the place went quiet. Described as a “stunning blonde,” she was the model for pinup artist Gil Elvgren’s…

Job fair for veterans planned for Earle Brown Heritage Center

Disabled American Veterans and RecruitMilitary have scheduled a career fair for veterans at the Earle Brown Heritage Center on Thursday. The event is scheduled from…

For-profit colleges face more Defense Department scrutiny

  The Pentagon has placed restrictions on the University of Phoenix’s recruiting of new students from the armed forces as authorities investigate whether the school…
Obituary: Rev. Noah Smith, 107, Wayman AME pastor

Obituary: Rev. Noah Smith, 107, Wayman AME pastor

It may have taken him awhile to get started, but the Rev. Noah Spencer Smith, who was 52 when he was ordained as a minister,…
Tensions at St. Cloud VA result in call for federal mediation

Tensions at St. Cloud VA result in call for federal mediation

The acrimony became apparent during a closed-door meeting with workers and management Friday afternoon with U.S. Reps. Tom Emmer and Tim Walz.

Police investigate death of soldier in Hibbing armory

Hibbing police are investigating the possible suicide of a Minnesota National Guard soldier whose body was found Monday in the Hibbing armory. The Minnesota National…
Minnesota VA official accused in scheme over $129K in expenses

Minnesota VA official accused in scheme over $129K in expenses

A local Veterans Affairs official is accused of financial misdealings for arranging to have herself transferred from the East Coast to St. Paul, keeping a higher rate of pay for a lower level of responsibility and claiming $129,000 in moving expenses.
New London parents fulfill dream of fallen soldier with Ryane Clark memorial parking lot

New London parents fulfill dream of fallen soldier with Ryane Clark memorial parking lot

Sunday's dedication comes after 12 years of bureaucratic battles.
Mpls. VA shuts down surgeries over unidentified substance

Mpls. VA shuts down surgeries over unidentified substance

Move comes after 'unidentified substance' is found in sterilizing equipment.

Billboards blast Minneapolis VA as part of national campaign to 'shame change'

The signs are part of his solo campaign to "shame change" and bring criticism to light.

Hennepin Gallery exhibit focuses on vet suicides

  The 8030 Project, a veterans’ suicide awareness project, was created as a community participatory public art project to raise awareness of the estimated 22…

2 Minn. Guard members, one former soldier plead guilty in recruiting fraud case

They admit sharing $2,000 bonuses with uniformed recruiters for deceptive enlistments.
Watchdog report critical of St. Cloud VA was quietly shelved

Watchdog report critical of St. Cloud VA was quietly shelved

It supported claims of poor staffing, hostile work conditions but was kept from public.

Minn., Wis. veterans face big charges for years-old, unbilled co-pays

Minnesota’s congressional delegation, led by Rep. John Kline, is fighting a Veterans Affairs directive that found veterans suddenly being billed for co-payments that were as…
Service dogs for veterans with PTSD get closer look

Service dogs for veterans with PTSD get closer look

The use of service dogs has been well-established for people with visual, hearing or physical disabilities, but there are hurdles to overcome for vets.
Mobile charity steps in to offer relief to veterans who are hurting

Mobile charity steps in to offer relief to veterans who are hurting

Group rolls into church parking lots and shopping malls with state-of-the-art technology offering free treatments, such as muscle and nerve therapy and spinal balancing.
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