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Operation Future Warrior, rain or shine

Posted: May 24, 2017 01:12 PM
Operation Future Warrior More than 900 recruits from the Minnesota National Guard came to Camp Ripley Friday through Sunday for Operation Future Warrior.

Young men and women who volunteered to join the Minnesota Army National Guard got to experience a small taste of basic training and military training during the three-day event.

"The intent of Operation Future Warrior is removing the mystery of the training recruits will experience when attending Basic Combat and Advance Individualized Training," said Lt. Col. Eduardo Suarez, recruiting and retention battalion commander.



St. Paul-based Combat Aviation Brigade welcomes new senior enlisted leader

Posted: May 23, 2017 08:03 AM
Hellkamp ARDEN HILLS, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade welcomed a new senior enlisted leader during a change of responsibility ceremony, May 21, 2017, at the Arden Hills Army Training Site.

Command Sgt. Maj. Mitchell Hellkamp assumed duties as the unit's senior noncommissioned officer (NCO) from Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Cunnien, who served in the position for the past two years and will be retiring from the military later this year.

"Command Sgt. Maj. Cunnien is one of the finest leaders that I have worked with in my career," said Col. Shawn Manke, commander of the 34th CAB. "He sets the example for all noncommissioned officers and Soldiers to emulate. He is a true professional, as a visible leader and teacher for the Soldiers of the combat aviation brigade. We're grateful for his many years of service, and we wish him well as he closes out his military career and enters the next chapter in his life."



Families recognized for sacrifices during Guard deployment

Posted: May 22, 2017 10:57 AM
Welcome Home ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Soldiers of B Co., 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion were welcomed home May 20, 2017, at the River's Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota. During the ceremony, families were recognized for their sacrifices during the year-long deployment.

"I often tell Soldiers and truly believe that as hard as our jobs are at times, our families have the harder job at home," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, commander of the 2-147 Assault Helicopter Battalion. "Because Army family members have a unique burden that many of their friends and families cannot understand, they form family readiness groups, or FRGs, to share information and provide support to one another."

The company's FRG leader, Rhiannon Knutson, wife of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Tom Knutson, was in constant contact with the unit's families and went above and beyond what is normally expected of FRG leaders, said the unit's readiness non-commissioned officer, Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wood.



Camp Ripley's Training Support Unit keeps the base running

Posted: May 16, 2017 12:41 PM
Camp Ripley CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Camp Ripley Training Support Unit is designated to the care, upkeep and assistance to the installation and those utilizing the facility.

"The Training Support Unit's (TSU) primary focus is to support unit training requirements and ensure smooth operations here on Camp Ripley and the Arden Hills Army Training Site in the metro," said Sgt. 1st Class Terry Clabo, Training Support Unit Readiness NCO.

Camp Ripley features numerous ranges and state-of-the-art training facilities to support military, law enforcement, first responder and inter-agency partner training requirements. The installation is structured to have a full complement of automated small arms and large caliber weapon ranges as well as several specialized training facilities.



Camp Ripley joins in on Health & Fitness Month

Posted: May 04, 2017 10:32 AM
RipleyPT CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Employees and soldiers at Camp Ripley are taking advantage of the warmer weather in Minnesota and stretching their legs with the kick off of Health & Fitness Month in May.

"Staying fit and healthy is important for an enjoyable and productive work environment, plus it helps us remain ready and in compliance with Army standards," said Maj. Steven Hall, operations officer with Camp Ripley.

The events at Camp Ripley are inspired by the Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, which is an international observance of health and fitness in the workplace that was created in 1989.



Officers convene for 112th Meeting of the National Guard Association of Minnesota

Posted: April 28, 2017 12:38 PM
NGAMN conference MANKATO, Minn. - Commissioned leaders of the Minnesota National Guard convened for the 112th General Conference of the National Guard Association of Minnesota at the Verizon Wireless Center and Hilton Garden Inn, Mankato, on April 22, 2017.

The annual gathering of association members - who serve as advocates for the needs of Soldiers, Airmen and their families - includes a business meeting, commanders march, formal dining event and transfer of responsibility to the chapter's new president.

The day's event began with a business meeting, which focused on the association's mission of educating and informing legislators on the issues facing the current and future role of the National Guard in serving Minnesota communities. The strategic planning meeting was attended by Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, his staff and unit commanders.



Camp Ripley earns top environmental award

Posted: April 26, 2017 02:09 PM
Mississippi River CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Department of Defense announced that Camp Ripley was selected as the winner of the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation.

The awards recognize individuals, teams and installations for their exceptional environmental achievements and innovative, cost-effective environmental practices.

"The winners' efforts strengthen the Department of Defense's position as a resourceful environmental steward, both at home and abroad, and demonstrate our continued commitment to fulfilling mission needs through advanced environmental practices and technologies," stated James A. MacStravic, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.



Minnesota Guardsman finds work with victims in the military and the local community rewarding

Posted: April 26, 2017 10:57 AM
Neely COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Nicquie Neely has been working with victims of sexual assault for four years in the Minnesota National Guard and also volunteers as a victim advocate in the community. As a victim advocate, it's her job to believe and support victims through a difficult process that can often involve extensive medical care and legal proceedings.

"Ever since I joined the Guard and heard about the SHARP program and learned what a victim advocate was, I always wanted to be one," said Neely. "And then I learned that you had to be an E-6 to be in that position, so the minute I got promoted I asked my commander if I could go to the training."

Neely is a combat medic and the full-time training and administration NCO with Company C, 134th Brigade Support Battalion. In addition to military victim advocate training, Neely also attends regular training with the civilian organization she volunteers for - SOS Sexual Violence Services in Ramsey County.



Minnesota National Guard Remembers the Holocaust with Jewish Community Relations Council

Posted: April 24, 2017 10:43 AM
Holocaust Museum Washington - Members of the Minnesota National Guard and the Air Force Reserve traveled to Washington D.C. with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (also known as the JCRC), to visit the Holocaust Museum, April 4, 2017, to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Also, traveling with this group were St. Paul and Minneapolis police officers along with students from various high schools around the state. For those in uniform that day, it was an opportunity to see, hear and experience the stories of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.

Each Service member who attended was asked to bring back a summary of their experience in the form of a presentation, professional discussion or briefing to their respective unit in order to help other Guard members better understand and remember that horrible event, to honor the courage of the victims and survivors, and to remain vigilant as members of the U.S. military.

"The honor and privilege of accompanying members of the Minnesota National Guard to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. met so many goals," said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the JCRC. "I wanted to reinforce the importance of the commitment of the U.S. military to democracy. After all, it was the Allies that defeated Nazi Germany and ultimately put an end to the Holocaust."



Learning to instruct professionalism and discipline

Posted: April 19, 2017 02:15 PM
Funeral Honors CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - It was a challenging and rewarding two weeks for members attending the Army National Guard Funeral Honors Instructor Course, April 1-14, at Camp Ripley.

Soldiers of National Guard units from all over the United States took part in the course designed to educate team leaders in a variety of funeral honor detail tasks, traditions and responsibilities.

"It's a stressful course, but for our job, we have to be prepared to do our job under stress; and we all really benefitted from that," said Class Honor Grad, Sgt. Ryan Valline of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.



Chaplains support Muslim Soldiers by finding common ground

Posted: April 18, 2017 01:42 PM
Chaplain Shabazz ROSEMOUNT, Minn. - The Soldiers of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division had a unique opportunity to speak with one of the U.S. Army's five Muslim chaplains April 7-10, 2017. U.S. Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Khallid Shabazz, I Corps deputy command chaplain, travelled from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Minnesota to provide professional development for the division chaplain section.

"Soldiers perform at a higher level when they are spiritually fit," said Minnesota National Guard Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Buddy Winn, the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division command chaplain. "And, it's our job as chaplains to make sure Soldiers have their spiritual needs met, regardless of faith. Having Chaplain Shabazz here as a Muslim Chaplain provides the diversity in religious background that we can't provide internally."

There are five major religions supported by the chaplaincy: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, but over 200 religions are recognized. Chaplains can only perform services for their particular religion, but they can provide support for all Soldiers, regardless of their faith.



Howling with pride - Minnesota Service members honored by MN Timberwolves

Posted: April 14, 2017 04:25 PM
Timberwolves ST. PAUL, Minn. - For the third consecutive year, Minnesota service members were honored with on-court recognition and other VIP treatments as part of the Minnesota Timberwolves Heroes of the Pack Program.

"We are very appreciative for what the military does for us, and we wanted to give something back to honor the military," said Roger McCabe, who along with wife, Nancy, is a driving force behind the recognitions through the FastBreak Foundation and Roger & Nancy McCabe Foundation. "This is our way of doing it."

Having lived through the Vietnam War - and with Roger and Nancy both having parents who served - the two philanthropists decided a few years back to build upon existing recognition efforts already underway by the Timberwolves. And with that, recognitions that were typically happening at Target Center in November expanded to include Minnesota Service members from all branches at every home game - a total of 41 honorees per season.



Red Bulls move vehicles for partnership exercises

Posted: April 12, 2017 03:22 PM
Rail load CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Soldiers of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division wrapped up a week-long rail load operation Sunday at Camp Ripley in preparation for several upcoming international training exercises.

Vehicle crewmen from the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry based in Moorhead, worked with railroad personnel from BNSF Railway to stage, load and secure their equipment in preparation for movement.

"It was a lot of work and lessons learned, but it was awesome seeing the completed product," said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Reiten, readiness non-commissioned officer for C Co., 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.



Minnesota Power and Minn. National Guard to celebrate constructed solar array at Camp Ripley

Posted: April 06, 2017 09:02 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2017

CAMP RIPLEY, Minn.- Camp Ripley will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Minnesota Power and the Minnesota National Guard at 10:30 a.m. on April 13, 2017, at the solar array observation platform on Camp Ripley.

"Solar energy jobs in Minnesota have grown 232 percent in just the last three years. The Camp Ripley solar energy array helps continue this tremendous economic growth, while ensuring the Minnesota National Guard has a reliable energy source," said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. "Our Administration remains committed to renewable energy efforts that are good for our health, good for our environment, and good for our jobs."

A partnership between Minnesota Power and the Minnesota National Guard has produced a solar array at Camp Ripley in Morrison County that boosts clean energy production for Minnesota Power customers and provides energy security for Camp Ripley.



Minnesota National Guard to celebrate opening of new facility in Stillwater

Posted: April 05, 2017 01:59 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 5, 2017

STILLWATER, Minn.- The Minnesota National Guard will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new readiness center at 350 Maryknoll Drive North in Stillwater, April 7, 2017, at 1:00 p.m.

"The hard work and critical training that our Soldiers conduct here will have a lasting impact on the Stillwater community and the readiness of the Minnesota National Guard," said Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard.

The approximately 80,000 square-foot building is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, Silver-registered facility. It incorporates many of the federal and state sustainable infrastructure requirements to include renewable solar, heat recovery systems and daylighting controls.



Month of the Military Child highlights the sacrifices of military kids

Posted: April 04, 2017 09:58 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The month of April is recognized as the Month of the Military Child. Throughout the month there will be several opportunities to highlight the contributions of these children whose sacrifices often go unnoticed.

"Military children make enormous sacrifices so that their family members can serve," said Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "Their resilience in the face of uncertainty and hardship inspires our service members to accomplish their mission."

An event to honor Minnesota's "Hidden Heroes" will take place April 21, 2017, at the Mall of America rotunda from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Activities will include appearances by Nickelodeon characters and Minnesota sports players and mascots.



Camp Ripley graduates new class of combat medics

Posted: March 29, 2017 02:15 PM
Combat Medic CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Fifteen Soldiers from across the U.S. completed the 68W Combat Medic, Military Occupational Specialty-Transition Course recently at Camp Ripley.

The 58 day course is part of the 2nd Battalion, 175th Regiment Regional Training Institute's program for re-classing or transitioning Soldiers seeking a new Military Occupational Specialty.

"We had a large class and it's been an exciting challenge for us overall, but I'm looking forward to seeing all these great students graduate," said Staff Sgt. Jessica Peterson 68W instructor with 2nd-175th RTI.



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.




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