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Willmar National Guard Unit Set To Deploy

Posted: October 05, 2015 11:04 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2015

WILLMAR, Minn.- More than 150 Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard's Willmar-based 682nd Engineer Battalion will deploy for an eleven-month mobilization in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

"The deploying Soldiers of the 682nd Engineer Battalion are eager to begin the deployment to Kuwait. This will be the first deployment for two-thirds of the unit, they are ready to create their own deployment experience," said Lt. Col. Keith Ferdon, battalion commander.

"Our battalion will be part of Task Force Wild in Kuwait. As a Minnesota hockey fan that is pretty cool. Our battalion has the mission of managing engineer sustainment operations throughout the Middle East, meaning we manage road and building infrastructure maintenance for coalition forces," said Ferdon.

Minnesota combat medic training center named for famous WWII nurse

Posted: October 05, 2015 09:26 AM
MSTC Zach Kayser CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard on Sunday dedicated its new combat medical training center in honor of Brainerd-native and famous WWII nurse Hortense McKay. She is the first female soldier to have a building named for her at Camp Ripley.

The Medical Simulation Training Center, which opened in May of 2014, specializes in training soldiers how to treat wartime wounded. It caters both to soldiers whose main role is being a combat medic (called "68Ws" in Army parlance) and to regular frontline soldiers looking to learn rudimentary lifesaving skills. Eventually, staff hope to train 2,500 people a year in the art of repairing bodies broken by combat.

Like the rest of Camp Ripley, the MSTC puts soldiers through the most stressful testing simulation possible. Strobe lights and loudspeakers recreate the distracting stimuli of combat, and the mannequins soldiers operate on display gruesome wounds that spew blood.

Last 133rd Airlift Wing Vietnam-Era Veteran Retires

Posted: September 30, 2015 01:56 PM
Michael Stephen Phillips ST. PAUL, Minn. - Master Sgt. Michael Stephen Phillips, the last Vietnam-era veteran to actively serve in the 133rd Airlift Wing, was honored for his 35 years of service at a retirement ceremony at the 133rd's dining facility, Aug. 23, 2015.

An 18-year-old Phillips first joined the active-duty Air Force on Sep. 18, 1973, as a security police specialist and was stationed at the 148th Fighter Wing (when it was still an active duty base) in Duluth. Following a seven-year break in service after his initial four-year enlistment ended, Phillips' wife saw an ad on television for a special program in the National Guard, prompting his return to service.

"Back then they had what was called the Try-1 program for prior active duty members to join the Guard. It allowed you to sign up for a year and see if you liked it," said Phillips. "If it didn't work out, you could get out, and if it did ... well, I ended up staying for another 31 years!"

Camp Ripley RTS-M offers technical, hands-on training for Soldiers

Posted: September 28, 2015 03:07 PM
RTSM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Each year hundreds of Soldiers from across the country travel to Camp Ripley Training Center to attend one of 31 courses offered by the 175th Regional Training Institute.

"The courses offered here on Camp Ripley qualify Soldiers as infantrymen, cavalry scouts, health care specialists, as well as wheeled vehicle mechanics and tracked vehicle repair technicians," said a spokesman for the Camp Ripley Visitors Bureau.

The Camp Ripley-based 175th Regiment Regional Training Institute, RTI, provides combat arms, Military Occupational Specialty and leadership training to prepare Soldiers and units for deployment at maximum combat readiness levels. One such training program is the Regional Training Site - Maintenance or RTS-M.

Camp Ripley's Open House Shares the Success of 'One Team'

Posted: September 24, 2015 11:29 AM
Camp Ripley open house CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Vehicles, aircraft and equipment of the Minnesota National Guard were on display for the biennial Camp Ripley Open House, Sept. 20, 2015.

In addition to military displays, state and local law enforcement, fire departments and first responders participated in the event focused on the 'One Team' concept involving inter-agency partnerships.

"It is our pleasure to highlight the capabilities of the Minnesota National Guard and the interoperability it has with inter-agencies in responding jointly to domestic operations within the state," said Col. Scott St. Sauver, Camp Ripley garrison commander.

Event provides support for veteran business owners

Posted: September 23, 2015 10:30 AM
Veteran Business Owners MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The Vessey Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) hosted its second annual Veteran Business Owners Conference at Target Field in Minneapolis, Sept. 10, 2015, providing business entrepreneurs the chance to learn what it takes to run a thriving company from experts in a variety of industries.

Building on the success of last year's event, the conference brought in even more speakers and businesses to present on topics such as web marketing and financing a new business.

"We recognize that there is a huge need for veterans to get together with business owners to network and learn new skills," said Mike Wolbrink, executive vice president of the Vessey Chapter AUSA. "It's a great way to meet new people and an opportunity for someone already started to pay it forward by sharing their experiences."

682nd Soldiers, families enjoy picnic prior to deployment

Posted: September 21, 2015 12:19 PM
Family picnic WILMAR, Minn. - Deploying Soldiers from the 682nd Engineer Battalion enjoyed a picnic with loved ones at Robbins Island Park in Willmar, Minn., September 11, 2015.

The picnic was sponsored by "Serving Our Troops" and coincided with the unit's final drill weekend before deploying to Kuwait. Families of the Soldiers were able to socialize and build a support system to take on the challenges that come with a deployment.

That weekend, Soldiers and their families also took part in the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon's Family Prep Academy, a nationally recognized one-day program geared to improve the quality of life for everyone affected by a deployment.

Allied Partners Take Play from Camp Ripley's Playbook

Posted: September 18, 2015 10:14 AM
Camp Ripley range - Croatia CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Advisors to the Croatian Army visited Camp Ripley, September 8 -12, 2015 to interact with garrison leaders in order to better understand the operations of the multi-use, multi-functional facility.

The Minnesota National Guard and U.S. Army Europe, USAREUR provided support to the Croatian Training and Doctrine Command's range development team during their visit to Camp Ripley. The information provided was for the development and implementation to the Range Complex Master Plan (RCMP) making improvements to the current Slunj Training Range in Croatia.

"The Minnesota National Guard is aligned with Croatia through the State Partnership for Peace Program," said Command Sgt. Major Mike Worden, Camp Ripley Garrison Command Sergeant-major. "Our cooperative efforts are to insure our allied partnership and better understand how we can work together," he added.

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