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Camp Ripley strikes first before wildfire season

Posted: March 24, 2017 10:19 AM
Controlled burn CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Every spring Camp Ripley begins its annual controlled burn program to help reduce the risk of wildfire during training.

"Usually the burns are completed every spring before the summer annual training season begins," said Tim Notch, training area coordinator on Camp Ripley. "However, the warmer weather conditions provide a nice opportunity for preventative burns earlier this season."

As in years past Camp Ripley will conduct controlled burns on approximately 13,000 acres of the 53,000-acre military reservation. The burns are done in coordination with the staffs of the Camp Ripley Department of Public Works and the Camp Ripley Environmental Department along with support from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.



Minnesota Guardsman earns recognition through Leads 2 Enlistment program

Posted: March 23, 2017 09:46 AM
Pfc Trevor Nelson DULUTH, Minn. - Pfc. Trevor Nelson received the Minnesota Distinguished Recruiting Ribbon and a Minnesota Recruiting and Retention Battalion medallion for excellence from Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Serbus, March 18, 2017, at the Duluth Armory. Nelson earned these awards as part of the online referral system, Leads 2 Enlistment for referring four friends who have joined the Minnesota National Guard.

"I talked to some buddies in my school about the Guard. They liked the benefits, so I put their info in the app and let my recruiter take over." said Nelson. "I thought it would be fun to serve with friends and help them figure out their path in life."

Nelson is currently a senior at Cloquet Senior High School and assigned to the Recruit Sustainment Program in Duluth. He attended basic training at Fort Benning in the summer of 2016 with follow-on training in the summer of 2017 to become an infantryman.



Litchfield and Local Veteran Honor Gen. John Vessey at Armory Open House

Posted: March 10, 2017 08:50 AM
Vessey Bust LITCHFIELD, Minn. -Bruce Cottington, a Navy veteran of WWII and Korea, donated a bronze bust of Gen. John W. Vessey, Jr. to the Litchfield National Guard unit during the armory's public open house event March 4. Cottington, a Litchfield resident, commands the Minnesota Chapter of the Veterans of Underage Military Service. VUMS members enlisted in the military prior to the minimum age requirement in order to serve their country during WWII. Cottington received the bust from Vessey, a fellow VUMS member. Both enlisted in the military at the age of 16.

The highlight of the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion open house was the unveiling of the sculpture. The unit was very supportive when Cottington proposed donating the sculpture. The Litchfield community has always been very supportive of the National Guard over the years, so the open house was a chance to say 'thanks' to their neighbors. "This was a great opportunity to honor Bruce and to honor Gen. Vessey," said B Co., 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion Commander, Capt. Seth Goreham. Bravo Company also has a tight relationship with the local American Legion and VFW. Many Litchfield citizens are former members of Bravo Company, or the unit's predecessors A Co, 682nd Engineer Battalion, and the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company.



Camp Ripley welcomes new command sergeant major

Posted: March 08, 2017 03:29 PM
CSM Erickson CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The garrison command team of Camp Ripley, family, friends and colleagues from the Minnesota National Guard attended a Change of Responsibility ceremony between Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Worden and Command Sgt. Maj. Matt Erickson, March 5, 2017, at Camp Ripley.

The ceremony was an official "passing of the sword" from one senior noncommissioned officer to the next and assumption of the duties and responsibilities that go along with the position of Garrison Command Sergeant Major.

As with many military ceremonies those in attendance welcomed Erickson as a new member of the team and bid farewell, recognized and thanked Worden for his service.



Norwegian youth recognized for response to vehicle accident

Posted: February 22, 2017 09:59 AM
NOREX youth CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Norwegian youths Stian Dahl and Haavard Engen received the Camp Ripley Garrison Commander's coin from Col. Scott St Sauver February 19, 2017, in recognition for reacting to a vehicle accident they witnessed earlier that week.

As part of the U.S.-Norway Reciprocal Troop Exchange, Norwegian youths ages 19-20 are matched up with a host family in order to spend an evening experiencing American culture. In most situations the "Buddy Weekend" as it's called allows the youths to go shopping, attend events and have home-cook meals along with their host family.

"We are able to match up youth members with families all over the state," said Staff Sgt. Tim Krouth, Buddy Weekend organizer. "Lots of the families have hosted one or two of our Norwegian friends for several years in a row now, it a great way to relax and see some of Minnesota."



To the top of the mountain and back, NOREX 44 members embrace the Norwegian winter

Posted: February 21, 2017 01:25 PM
NOREX FTX HALTDALEN, Norway - After two days at a base camp near Haltdalen, Norway, Minnesota National Guardsmen participating in the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange were ready for the most challenging aspect of their four-day field training exercise - a ski march up the mountain.

It was Day three of the FTX, meaning members of the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange had slowly adjusted to surviving and thriving while living in a winter environment and also honed their skills on cross country skills well enough to begin a climb that would take nearly three hours.

"Our goal was to get you to know how to use the winter, see how the Norwegians use the winter, and how we survive the winter so we can conduct combat," said Vidar Aune, one of several members of Home Guard 12 guiding the Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen during their training here. "By getting the experience living outside in the snow, you manage to survive it and handle it quite well."



Norwegian youth train with Minnesota National Guard

Posted: February 16, 2017 10:52 AM
NOREX Youth CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. -Youth of the Norwegian Home Guard experienced some of Minnesota culture along with focused military style training during the first week of NOREX 2017.

The U.S.--Norway reciprocal Troop Exchange, which began Feb. 9, 2017, annually swaps approximately 100 Soldiers and Airmen from the Minnesota National Guard and a like number of Norwegian Home Guard soldiers as well as youths to experience each other's training, military lifestyle and most importantly, culture.

"It's rewarding interacting with more young people eager to learn about a new lifestyle and culture," said Capt. Brett Farniok, Youth Platoon Officer-in-Charge.



Warmly welcomed, U.S. contingent arrives in Norway for NOREX 44

Posted: February 12, 2017 01:38 PM
NOREX44 CAMP VAERNES, Norway - Following a muster at the 133rd Airlift Wing and an eight-hour overnight flight across the Atlantic Ocean, nearly 100 Soldiers and Airmen with the Minnesota National Guard finally arrived in Norway to conduct the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange on Feb. 9, 2017.

While the U.S.-based Soldiers were warmly greeted by members of the Norwegian Home Guard at Camp Vaernes, a similarly-sized group of Norwegian Home Guard members were received at Camp Ripley Training Center. The arrival of military members from both countries to their host nations formally began the annual exchange, which provides a unique opportunity for individuals to become fully-immersed in foreign military and social culture.

"Though I didn't know what to expect before getting here, they have been very welcoming," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Taylor Hanson, a member of the 148th Fighter Wing. "They are making sure we had everything."



Family and Friendship wrapped up in gift for Norwegian exchange

Posted: February 08, 2017 09:31 AM
NOREX quilt CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Careful attention was put into the creation of a hand-made quilt for this year's organizational gift during the 2017 U.S.-Norway Reciprocal Troop Exchange.

Since 1974, the exchange of gifts between the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard has helped to strengthen bonds between the two nations both militarily and culturally.

The exchange itself, being the longest continuously running exchange in the Department of Defense, has been seen as a gift; ensuring the safe and successful execution of American and Norwegian efforts at home as well as overseas.



Soldiers conduct winter vehicle recovery training on Camp Ripley

Posted: February 04, 2017 03:03 PM
Camp Ripley recovery training CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Instructors of the Minnesota National Guard Regional Training Site-Maintenance (RTS-M) led training Jan. 14, 2017, for Advanced Recovery Operations in a winter training environment at Camp Ripley.

"We need to prepare for all weather conditions and train accordingly to meet the increasing demand of National Guard assets being used by their states for weather-related emergencies," said Sgt. 1st Class Kristopher Ambuehl, course instructor.

Eighteen Soldiers from the Maintenance Platoon, 224th Transportation Company out of Austin joined instructors at Camp Ripley for a refresher and familiarization training.



Hamlar's passion for taking care of people evident inside and out of the operating room

Posted: February 03, 2017 02:26 PM
David Hamlar ST. PAUL, Minn. - On the third floor of the University of Minnesota's main-hospital building in Minneapolis, a 94 year-old woman waits patiently in a pre-operating room with her husband close by her side. In enters "Doc" Hamlar dressed in scrubs and a white lab coat, ready to discuss the procedure she is about to undertake that will dilate her throat allowing her to better swallow again.

Sitting bedside now, Hamlar takes her hand and says with a smile, "You're hanging in there!" "Yeah I am!" she replies.

"You're a tough cookie," said Hamlar.

"I AM a tough cookie," she confidently says through a grin. She then turns and addresses the whole room "I was a war baby!"

This was not the first time Hamlar and this young-at-heart spit-fire had met. 16 years prior, cancer was discovered in her jaw-bone and neck. At the age of 78 the severity of her stage-IV cancer diagnosis was that within four-to-five years, she had a 30 percent chance of being alive.



Medical professionals meet for joint training

Posted: February 02, 2017 10:32 AM
Medical Summit CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Members of the Minnesota Army and Air National Guard medical community met Jan. 28-29, 2017, at Camp Ripley for the 2017 Minnesota Medical Team Summit for professional development and training to share best practices and discuss the future of military medicine.

Maj. Dean Stulz, Deputy State Surgeon, Minnesota Army National Guard, said the objective of the summit is to bring the medical community of the Minnesota Army and Air National Guard together to share information, spend time together, to network and share resources and expand the medical, as well as logistical, collective knowledge of the medical team.

The weekend agenda for attendees of the summit was wide-ranging with presentations on readiness, training opportunities, policy updates, new techniques and technical capabilities.



Senior enlisted conference offers Red Bulls opportunity to network, develop

Posted: January 31, 2017 10:56 AM
Joint Senior Enlisted Leader Conference CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Nearly 150 Soldiers and Airmen gathered as enlisted leaders at Camp Ripley to discuss issues important to the non-commissioned officer corps in the Minnesota National Guard, providing an opportunity for Red Bull leaders to network and develop their leadership skills.

The Joint Senior Enlisted Leader Conference is open to all Minnesota National Guard senior enlisted leaders, both Army and Air Guard. It provides a chance for senior enlisted leaders to meet with their peers, share ideas and develop the NCO corps for future generations.

"This conference is one of the few opportunities for us to come together to gain a shared understanding of our roles as senior enlisted leaders," said 34th Red Bull Infantry Division Command Sgt. Maj. John Lepowsky. "One of the biggest challenges that any National Guard leader faces is the time commitment it takes in order to be a good leader. Having this opportunity to talk about and discuss issues affecting both Army and Air Guard NCOs is invaluable."



MNNG Military Police deploy to support Joint Task Force Guantanamo

Posted: January 30, 2017 10:19 AM
257th MP Deployment More than 120 Soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard's 257th Military Police Company were bade farewell during a ceremony that filled the Monticello High School auditorium Jan. 28, 2017. The company, following pre-mobilization training at Fort Bliss, Texas, will deploy to U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in support of Joint Task Force Guantanamo.

"It's quite an honor," said Spc. Alex Suess, a military police officer with the 257th MP Co., 84th Troop Command. "Especially being part of Minnesota's first rotation to Cuba - we're part of history."

The Soldiers mission will be to provide safe, legal, humane and transparent care and custody of the detainees housed at the Joint Task Force Guantanamo detention facilities.



Camp Ripley ensures mission readiness

Posted: January 26, 2017 09:47 AM
Camp Ripley readiness CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Maintenance technicians working at Camp Ripley labored through the month of January to ensure the readiness of vehicles and equipment for the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team.

"We are working to get units of the Brigade recovered from their gunnery cycle and ready for the next phase," said Maj. Lonny Rigney, assistant superintendent, Consolidated Maintenance Activity-South at Camp Ripley.

Members of the Minnesota National Guard will continue to build relationships with other military services by participating in several important training exercises in 2017. Several events, focused the further strengthening of our overall readiness, are scheduled to combine active and reserve components with international partners on foreign soil as well as here in Minnesota.



Monticello-based Soldiers to deploy to Guantanamo Bay

Posted: January 25, 2017 05:05 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2017

MONTICELLO, Minn.- More than 120 Soldiers from the Monticello-based 257th Military Police Company will be deploying to U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in support of Joint Task Force Guantanamo.

"Our unit is trained and ready to professionally carry out this very important mission," said Capt. Jon Schliesing, commander of the 257th Military Police Company.

The unit will provide safe, humane, legal and transparent care and custody of detainees at the Joint Task Force Guantanamo detention facilities. Prior to deployment, the Soldiers will receive specialized training and certifications based on the strictly-enforced standard operating procedures within the facilities and will receive additional on-the-job training once they arrive.



Minnesota National Guard contract acquisition team to deploy

Posted: January 15, 2017 04:44 PM
1903rd Support Detachment CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Four Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard's Little Falls-based 1903rd Support Detachment, 347th Regional Support Group will deploy for a nine-month contracting mission at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel.

"The Soldiers are motivated, trained and ready for their upcoming mission. We will contract for the necessary services and supplies to support the warfighter," said to Lt. Col. Michael Lange, the team commander.



Jensen takes command of historic 34th Red Bull Infantry Division in its 100th year

Posted: January 13, 2017 01:54 PM
34ID Change of Command Brig. Gen. Jon Jensen, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff, took command of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, Jan. 8, 2017, as the Division marks its centennial anniversary.

"2017 marks a historic year for the Red Bulls as we begin celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 34th Infantry Division," said Maj. Gen. Richard C. Nash, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. The Division, then known as the "Sandstorm Division," was created in 1917 from National Guard troops of Minnesota, Iowa, the Dakotas and Nebraska.

Jensen is the second native of Council Bluffs, Iowa, to hold the position and joins a long line of commanders who have led the Division through both of the World Wars up to the current Global War on Terrorism.



Military, Civilian Response Agencies Train for Super Bowl 2018

Posted: January 12, 2017 09:34 AM
CERFP ST. PAUL, Minn. - Soldiers and Airmen with the Minnesota National Guard's CBRN Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP) and Twin Cities emergency service personnel with MN Task Force One endured single-digit temperatures at the WestRock paper mill in St. Paul, Minn., Jan. 7, 2017, for a joint training exercise.

The 203-person CERFP conducts command and control, search and extraction, decontamination and medical operations to assist civil authorities in providing disaster response. It is comprised of Soldiers from the 84th Troop Command, 682nd Engineer Battalion and 434th Chemical Company, and Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing Medical Group.

This was the second joint training exercise the CERFP and MN Task Force One have conducted together, said Maj. Ryan Cochran, the Deputy Commander of the Minnesota CERFP.



NOREX 44 'Away Team' assembles in preparation for annual exchange

Posted: January 11, 2017 01:21 PM
NOREX drill CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The contingent of soldiers and airmen from the Minnesota National Guard preparing for the annual U.S.-Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange assembled for their first formal training event Saturday and Sunday at Camp Ripley Training Center.

The preparatory drill weekend, which took place one month before 103 members of the Minnesota National Guard embark to Norway as part of the "away team" for the two-week military and cultural exchange event, was held to provide information on the exchange and, more importantly, allow an opportunity for these service members from units across the state to come together as one team.

"It's a good opportunity to meet people from diverse backgrounds in an accelerated environment," said Army Sgt. 1st Class David Wentzel, with the 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery. "This experience is what they're going to make of it, and they're making the most of it."



Soldier finds peace during memorial ceremony

Posted: December 21, 2016 07:57 AM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. -Family members, veterans, Service members and volunteers from the surrounding communities gathered at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery, Dec. 17, 2016, for the annual Wreaths for the Fallen event sponsored by WreathsForTheFallen.org.

"It was such an amazing event despite the weather," said Spc. Lindsey Posterick. "I was proud at how many people came out to help place wreaths."

December 17th is recognized as the National Wreaths Across America Day, which includes the placing of wreaths on the graves of our honored service members who have passed away.



Red Bull Soldiers Support Successful Bilateral Training Exercise with Japan

Posted: December 19, 2016 10:33 AM
YS71 JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Soldiers of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, based in Rosemount, Minnesota, recently traveled to Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, to participate in Yama Sakura 71, a bilateral training exercise in support of the U.S. and Japan military partnership. The scenario was designed to bring a new challenge to the division staff.

"Training at the division level is vastly different from the company or battalion [level] because it shifts the focus from tactics to predicting and shaping the operational environment," said Maj. Colin Fleming, division military intelligence officer.

While senior leaders worked through the challenges of the scenario to shape the battle, staff sections continued to fine-tune processes and create growth opportunities for junior enlisted.



210th Engineering Installation Squadron marks 45 Years of operational excellence and community involvement

Posted: December 12, 2016 02:22 PM
210th EIS ST. PAUL, Minn. - There are many jobs in the Air Force that are vital to the mission but are not always visible. However, just because something isn't visible doesn't mean that it isn't important. Take for instance the ability to communicate with one another. The fundamentally simple process of making a phone call or sending an email is much more involved than just dialing a phone or clicking a computer mouse.

Enter the job of the 210th Engineering Installation Squadron - the unsung hero of connectivity. Although they work on the network, the 210th Airmen are not to be confused with those in the communications career fields. Their mission is different. For 45-years strong, they have been the hardline of communication between buildings and the wire between the web.

"We do all of the backbone infrastructure for the installation of communication equipment," said Lt. Col. Brian Winter, the unit's 12th commander. What that means is anything that transmits over fiber optic or copper cabling - or anything that goes into the ground or inside of a building - it is the unit's job to bring it to the back end of the equipment in a server room. Additionally, the 210th has the capability to install airfield equipment that controls the take-off and landing equipment that communicates with aircraft.



Camp Ripley Garrison Unit Ministry Team to deploy

Posted: December 07, 2016 03:42 PM
Camp Ripley UMT CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Soldiers of the Camp Ripley Training Support Unit recognized and gave best wishes to their Unit Ministry Team, Dec. 3, 2016, during the annual holiday party.

Chaplain Lt. Col. Michael Crawford and Staff Sgt. Carl Seim of the 47th Chaplain Detachment assigned to Camp Ripley will deploy overseas following mobilization training at Fort Hood, Texas, beginning the last week of December.

"We are a two-man unit; I'm the commander and Sergeant Seim is everything else," said Chaplain Crawford light-heartedly.



Camp Ripley drives on with rebuild

Posted: December 02, 2016 01:01 PM
Camp Ripley storm damage CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Following a damaging storm last fall, Camp Ripley and the Minnesota National Guard set plans in motion for the rebuilding of housing and maintenance structures on the installation.

"The replacement strategy for outdated and damaged buildings is integrated into our long-range development plan to ensure Camp Ripley is able to meet future mission requirements," said Deputy Garrison Commander Lt. Col. Chad Sackett.

The location of Camp Ripley was selected in 1929 by Minnesota's Adjutant General, Ellard Walsh, in order to replace the small, outmoded 200-acre training camp in southern Minnesota created in 1888.



Chef Challenge serves up for military and community

Posted: November 30, 2016 02:51 PM
Mall of America BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Minnesota National Guard food service specialists competed for "Top Chef" at the Nov. 11 Veterans Day Chef Challenge at the Mall of America.

To celebrate Veterans Day the Mall of America, Star Tribune and Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Network teamed up to host the ultimate Chef Challenge pairing Minnesota National Guard personnel with chefs from restaurants located at the Mall of America.

"It was a unique situation and lots of fun," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Paul Erickson of Camp Ripley, who was entered as one of the competitors for the first round of the competition.



Uncovering the past at Camp Ripley

Posted: November 16, 2016 12:03 PM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. -Archaeologists from Commonwealth Heritage Group out of Milwaukee, Wis., concluded phase I inventory surveys Nov. 4, 2016, at Camp Ripley.

The surveys help to identify lands possibly used as settlements on the Camp Ripley reservation, how they connect to the surrounding areas and if they hold any significant historical value.

"Some of the same lands that Camp Ripley uses for the training of our Service members and inter-agency partners, were once settlements dating back hundreds of years," said Patrick Neumann, Cultural Resources manager at Camp Ripley.



Camp Ripley preserves, protects environmental and cultural resources

Posted: November 09, 2016 12:33 PM
Camp Ripley Environmental CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The environmental team at Camp Ripley continues to be proud of their reputation for conserving the natural and cultural resources of central Minnesota.

Additionally, the team supports unit readiness through research, guidance and implementation of sustainable, environmentally-responsible practices.

"Since the increase in operational tempo, over the past few decades, the need for usable training lands became a significant demand for military and emergency response agencies," said Jay Brezinka, Environmental Supervisor with the Minnesota National Guard. "The role of the Environmental Office has been critical in accommodating the needs of the military mission while mitigating possible impacts on our natural resources."



Operation Future Warrior promotes positive opportunities

Posted: November 02, 2016 01:19 PM
Operation Future Warrior CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Some of the newest members of the Minnesota National Guard took part in a short and informative familiarization exercise October 28-30, 2016, at Camp Ripley.

"Operation Future Warrior was established to promote a motivating Army environment generating awareness and education for new recruits as they prepare for Basic and Advanced Training," said Maj. Aaron Oelschlager, Recruiting and Retention Battalion Executive Officer and event officer-in-charge.

There are approximately 1,300 Soldiers that make up the Minnesota National Guard Recruit Sustainment Program. About 650 of them currently attend drill weekends with their units while the remainder are in various stages of training at locations around the U.S.



347th RSG's top Soldiers gut it out for title of Best Warrior

Posted: October 17, 2016 03:24 PM
347 RSG BWC CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The 347th Regional Support Group hosted a brigade-level Best Warrior Competition at Camp Ripley Training Center from Oct. 14 to 16, 2016, to select the brigade's Best NCO and Best Soldier - both of whom will represent the brigade at the state-level competition in 2017.

"We made a point to make this event challenging, and it has been," said Sgt. 1st Class Mark Shields, assistant operations NCO for the brigade. "Regardless of the outcome, the Soldiers competing for the title of Best Warrior are getting great training value."

Ten Soldiers made up this year's field, representing 5 of the 9 units that make up the brigade. The contestants are supported by nearly forty Soldiers participating as sponsors, evaluators and staff to provide direction, motivation and support.



Minnesota National Guard celebrates Hispanic heritage month

Posted: October 16, 2016 10:46 AM
Hispanic Heritage ARDEN HILLS, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard celebrated Hispanic Heritage month by inviting two members of the Hispanic community to share their stories during a potluck lunch at the Arden Hills Army Training Site, Oct. 11, 2016.

First to speak was Minnesota State Senator Patricia Torres Ray, one of two Latinas out of 67 senators in the Minnesota Senate. She spoke about her experience coming to the U.S. from Colombia and how not being able to speak the language made it a challenge to connect with people in her new country.

"I was not a minority in my country, because everybody that I knew looked like me," said Torres Ray. "I was not connected to the multi-cultural global world that you live in."



Major General Nash to Continue Service as Adjutant General of Minnesota

Posted: October 12, 2016 01:57 PM
MG Richard C. Nash FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn.- After a successful appeal by Governor Mark Dayton to former National Guard Bureau Chief General Frank J. Grass, Major General Richard C. Nash will continue serving the state of Minnesota as Adjutant General until the state's mandatory retirement, through October 31, 2017. Without Governor Dayton's action, Major General Nash would have faced retirement under the national requirement, which would have taken effect September 30, 2016.

"Major General Nash is an exceptional leader who has served our state and nation with great distinction," said Governor Dayton. "His leadership and experience are invaluable to the Minnesota National Guard and the citizens of our state. I thank General Grass and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter for granting this extension, and I thank Major General Nash for continuing his outstanding service to Minnesota."



Care of injured bird comes full circle

Posted: October 12, 2016 12:45 PM
Eagle release CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - An eagle was released back in the wild Oct. 4, 2016, at Camp Ripley following three months of rehabilitation.

"We'd like to thank the team at Camp Ripley for rescuing and bringing this bald eagle to the Raptor Center for care," said Amber Burnette, program associate with the Raptor Center University of Minnesota. "It was our pleasure to be a part of bringing this bird back home."

The bald eagle was found along a Morrison County highway by a soldier working at Camp Ripley in mid-July, 2016. At first glance, the bird appeared to be injured and not responding to the traffic that was driving by.



Camp Ripley inducts members into Court of Honor

Posted: October 05, 2016 01:21 PM
Camp Ripley Memorialization CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Hundreds of friends, family and fellow service members filled the Gen. John W.Vessey Recreation Center Oct. 2, 2016, at Camp Ripley to honor and recognize 19 members of the Minnesota National Guard who were inducted into the Court of Honor.

"Today was filled with remembrance and recognition," said Sgt. 1st Class Kristen Tritz of the Training Support Unit on Camp Ripley. "It was very powerful."

The Memorialization Board inducted not only five Minnesota National Guard leaders but also 14 soldiers who died while deployed overseas.



Substance abuse summit works to support the National Guard

Posted: September 28, 2016 09:36 AM
Substance Abuse summit CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Service members from across the Minnesota National Guard attended a summit Monday and Tuesday at Camp Ripley to discuss the methods of distribution for the organization's alcohol policy.

In its inaugural year, the Army Substance Abuse Prevention Summit, hosted by the Minnesota National Guard Substance Abuse Prevention Program, built a cooperative venue with several community partners in an effort to educate, inform and provide tools for leaders.

"We have been working for a while on developing a method to bring everyone to the table," said Capt. Troy Davidson of the Substance Abuse Prevention Program. "The intent is to collaborate with our senior leaders and other agencies provide resources and receive feedback in order to best serve the members of our organization."



Minnesota National Guard conducts react to contact drills with Montenegro Armed Forces

Posted: September 14, 2016 10:13 AM
Immediate Response 16 U.S. and Montenegrin Soldiers tested their ability to perform battle drills that included squad attacks, react to contact, break contact, and react to ambush while supporting Immediate Response 16 at the Croatian Armed Forces training area of Slunj, Croatia.

"Training like IR16 gets the younger Soldiers the experience in a little more than just what we do at home by going to a different country, seeing a different culture, meeting different people, establishing relationships that you would never get if you go overseas," said Sgt. George Langstaff, a squad leader assigned to the Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry.

The exercise and simulations are built upon a decisive action-based scenario and are designed to enhance regional stability, strengthen allied and partner nation capacity, and improve interoperability among partner nations.



University of Minnesota, Minnesota National Guard partner for crisis simulation exercise

Posted: September 12, 2016 04:28 PM
Disaster Simulation Exercise CANNON FALLS, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard partnered with the University of Minnesota and other humanitarian organizations in a collaborative program to train students and prospective humanitarian aid workers during a three-day Humanitarian Crisis Simulation exercise at the Phillippo Scout Reservation in Cannon Falls, Sept. 9-11, 2016.

"A goal is to help students gain an appreciation of humanitarian work by putting them in an environment typical of humanitarian crises," said Dr. Eric James, co-instructor for the course. "We put the students into complex scenarios so they can apply the knowledge and skills learned from the course. They get to experience first-hand the stress of making a decision under pressure while providing aid to refugees in an unfamiliar country."

The Minnesota National Guard has participated in the exercise for the past four years, strengthening interagency relationships with local and international humanitarian organizations.



Minnesota National Guard hosts fun run to bring awareness to suicide prevention efforts

Posted: September 09, 2016 11:12 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The Minnesota National Guard is hosting a "Power of One" Fun Run, Sunday, September 11, during National Suicide Prevention Week to call attention to suicide prevention efforts in the military and civilian communities.

The run will take place at the Benjamin Franklin Readiness Center in Arden Hills and will help Minnesota Guardsmen meet annual suicide prevention training requirements while building unit cohesion and encouraging connectedness between battle buddies, family members and local community resource providers. The run emphasizes the power that one individual has to save a life and prevent suicide.

"The Minnesota National Guard is committed to preventing suicides in our organization," said Maj. Gen. Rick Nash, Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General. "We are continually looking for new ways to bring the suicide prevention message to our Service members. Our people are our most precious resource and one loss to suicide is one too many."



Minnesota National Guard's Camp Ripley Training Center damaged by severe weather

Posted: September 09, 2016 11:02 AM
Camp Ripley storm damage FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn.- Camp Ripley received significant storm damage after 10:00 p.m. on September 7, 2016, as storm cells passed through Morrison County. There were no injuries caused by the severe weather, though several buildings used for housing, training and maintenance received major damage. There was also major damage to the nearly completed 10-megawatt solar array that was set to be dedicated next week. The dedication has been postponed to a yet to be determined future date.

"We were extremely fortunate, all our people are safe," said Col. Scott St. Sauver, Camp Ripley Garrison Commander. "We can repair buildings and replace damaged equipment, but our people are irreplaceable."

Damage assessments continue today, but most damage consist of collapsed roofs, fallen trees, debris and damaged vehicles throughout garrison areas of Camp Ripley.



Remembering the life and service of a great Minnesotan

Posted: September 02, 2016 11:57 AM
Vessey Funeral ST. PAUL, Minn. - With services over two days at Minnesota's historic Fort Snelling and Camp Ripley, family, friends and the military community sought to honor and celebrate a life well-lived by General John W. Vessey, Jr., who enlisted as a private in the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Red Bull Infantry Division in 1939 and ended his 46-year military career as the 10th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"They just don't make them like General Vessey anymore," said Gen. Daniel Allyn, Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. "And that is why, rather than refer to him as John or Jack, the man we hold in reverence and honor today will forever be known to all of us in uniform as General."

Vessey passed away August 18, 2016, in North Oaks, Minnesota, just over a year after his wife, Avis, of 69 years. In 94 years, Gen. John W. Vessey Jr. lived a large and full life, leaving a lasting impression on not only his immediate family and friends, but on a local, national and global scale during his military career and beyond.



Funeral arrangements announced for Gen. John W. Vessey Jr.

Posted: August 29, 2016 04:56 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 26, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn.- Funeral arrangements have been set for Gen. John William Vessey Jr. who passed away August 18, 2016, at the age of 94. Vessey, a Minnesota native, enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard as a private in 1939 and served as the tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from June 18, 1982 to September 30, 1985.

"General John W. Vessey is a national treasure with a military legacy unmatched in the history of the Minnesota National Guard or the U.S. Army. His passing is nationally significant and yet very personal to many in the Minnesota National Guard, including me," said Maj. Gen. Rick Nash, Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General. "General Vessey has been a mentor, and a friend; though missed by many, he will never be forgotten."

A religious service will take place Wednesday, August 31, at 1:00 p.m. at the Fort Snelling Chapel where he married his wife, Avis, in 1945. This service is open to the public and the media.



Minnesota's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program to be recognized on State Fair Military Appreciation Day

Posted: August 26, 2016 03:01 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 26, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The sixth annual Military Appreciation Day at the Minnesota State Fair presented by USAA on Tuesday, August 30, will recognize Minnesota's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program and provide an educational opportunity for all fairgoers to learn about Minnesota's military community.

"Veterans, active duty service members, and military families deserve our immense gratitude for their sacrifice and commitment," said Governor Mark Dayton. "Since 2008, over 290 cities, counties, businesses and non-profits have joined Minnesota's "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" program, and are now providing community support and employment assistance to veterans and military families. I thank these organizations for their leadership, and encourage all Minnesotans to thank and support our military heroes."

A 10:00 a.m. program at the Minnesota State Fair's Leinie Lodge Bandshell will celebrate Minnesota's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program. The program will conclude at 10:25 a.m. with a historic flyover of World War II-era P6 and B25 aircraft.



Willmar-based National Guardsmen to return home Saturday

Posted: August 25, 2016 03:26 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 25, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn.-

More than 150 Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard's 682nd Engineer Battalion will return to Willmar Saturday following a mobilization in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

"The Soldiers of Task Force Wild excelled in their mission, and were recognized across the theater for their hard work and dedication," said Lt. Col. Keith Ferdon, battalion commander. "I couldn't be prouder of how our Soldiers represented the State of Minnesota."

The mission of the Task Force was to provide horizontal and vertical engineer construction in support of coalition forces in the region. The Soldiers oversaw the planning and execution of 285 construction projects with an approximate total value of 20.2 million dollars in seven countries: Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.



Minnesota Identification Card will no longer grant access to Department of Defense installations

Posted: August 19, 2016 01:53 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 19, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn.- With the implementation of the "REAL ID Act" going into effect at Department of Defense installations nationwide, access will no longer be granted to Minnesotans carrying standard state-issued identification cards. Beginning this week, Minnesota residents will be required to have an approved escort or use alternative forms of identification to access the following installations:

- 133rd Airlift Wing, St. Paul
- 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth
- 934th Joint Base, Minneapolis
- Military Facility at Fort Snelling

Without a 'Real ID,' access will be granted only to individuals with an approved escort (i.e. a service member with a Common Access Card), or carrying one of the approved alternative forms of acceptable ID.



General John W. Vessey, Jr. - The 10th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Posted: August 19, 2016 08:22 AM
Gen. John W. Vessey Jr. General John W. Vessey, Jr., a former member of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Red Bull Infantry Division and the 10th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away August 18, 2016, at the age of 94.

General John W. Vessey, Jr. was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 29 June 1922. He enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard in May 1939 while still in high school, becoming a member of Headquarters, 59th Field Artillery Brigade, 34th Infantry Division. He was only 16 and fibbed about his age to join. With other members of his unit he was called to active duty in February 1941. When war came, the 34th became the first American division sent to Europe, where it initially fought in North Africa and then in Italy. A natural leader, Vessey rose quickly in the enlisted ranks until 6 May 1944 when, pinned down on the Anzio Beachhead amidst high casualties, the 21-year old battery first sergeant was given a battlefield commission and sent forward to direct artillery fire.

Vessey decided to stay in the Army after war. During his first 30 years of military service, he spent most of his time in combat divisions. In addition to his World War II assignment with the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division in North Africa and Italy, Vessey served with the 4th Infantry Division and 3rd Armored Division in Germany, the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam and was commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Carson, Colorado.

He attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the Armed Forces Staff College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He also graduated from the University of Maryland. His love of flying prompted him to earn his wings, which he always wore proudly. When he graduated from the Army Helicopter School in 1970, he was 15 years older than the next oldest student.



Message of hope and healing stands out during fun run

Posted: August 18, 2016 10:49 AM
Power of One Fun Run CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - A 5K run/walk event was held for Minnesota National Guard service members Saturday at Camp Ripley.

This event is one of two in the series of fun runs hosted by the Resilience, Risk Reduction & Suicide Prevention, or R3SP.

"Soldiers truly enjoyed this alternative training option. The smiles that were on the participants faces when they crossed the finish line showed they had fun," said Sgt. 1st Class Jeanette Chaffee of R3SP.



Guard unit proudly carries Heritage Torch

Posted: August 17, 2016 09:07 AM
1-194 CAV CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Soldiers of the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment celebrated, remembered and cherished the legacy of their unit with several events this past drill weekend.

The inheritance of over 70 years of deployments, challenges and achievements resonated in the several events executed by the men and women of the battalion.

"The trials this unit lived through since its creation are inspirational for all of us ... no matter what you are doing," said Capt. Joe Howe, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment.



Cannoneers remember lineage during upcoming anniversary

Posted: July 20, 2016 10:13 AM
1-151 cannoneers CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Artillery crewmen and support personnel of the 1st Battalion, 151st Field Artillery are conducting gunnery skills training, July 17-30, 2016, at Camp Ripley.

This is part of the annual training requirements that each National Guard unit must complete in order to meet readiness standards in support of possible federal missions.

During the summer of 1917, this battalion answered such a call following the congressional approval of President Woodrow Wilson's declaration of war against Germany.



More Military Bases Join 'Sentinel Landscapes' for Readiness Enhancement

Posted: July 15, 2016 10:03 AM
Minnesota National Guard WASHINGTON - Numerous military installations have joined the Sentinel Landscapes partnership to maintain military readiness while preserving local agriculture, natural resources and wildlife habitat, Defense Department officials announced today.

Avon Park Air Force Range, Florida; Camp Ripley, Minnesota; and the Eastern North Carolina region, which comprises numerous military installations, joined the cooperative partnership between DoD and the departments of Interior and Agriculture, DoD officials said.

In July 2013, the departments launched the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership through a memorandum of understanding to meet three critical goals: preserve working and agricultural lands, restore and protect wildlife habitat, and assist with military readiness. The first designees were Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, Fort Huachuca in Arizona and Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, officials said.



Minnesota National Guard executes recovery mission following NTC rotation

Posted: July 15, 2016 09:08 AM
NTC recovery CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Soldiers and vehicles of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team 34th Infantry Division returned to Minnesota at the beginning of July after a month-long training rotation at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.

"This is the final phase of this movement exercise, we learned a lot and exceeded every expectation with great results," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Gerard Hummel, railhead officer-in-charge.

After offloading vehicles and equipment from the railhead at Camp Ripley, Minnesota National Guard units will begin the next phase following an exercise which is the checking, servicing and maintaining of everything the unit needs to execute its next mission.




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