| Citizen Soldiers train for deployment
In today's Army, deploying units are comprised of not just active-duty Soldiers, but also Reserves and National Guardsmen
About 150 "citizen Soldiers" from the
34th Combat Aviation Brigade trained during a 10-day exercise here Nov 7-16 for their upcoming Iraq deployment next year
Soldiers from 11 states, including the 34th CAB's headquarters in Minnesota make up the unit, according to its commander Lt Col Clay Brock
Brock said the purpose of the aviation training exercise is to replicate conditions the unit will face in Iraq, particularly for Soldiers serving in staff positions
Reserve-component units generally deploy for about one year Previously, the units would train for four or five months prior to deploying, but this is just the first of three training exercises the unit will participate in before deploying next year, Brock said
"In order to maximize the time in theater, we had to change how we do business No longer can we afford for a unit to be on a deployed status and train for four or five months - we have to do that training at our home station," he said "We do a lot of training at the different states to help preset the conditions for success at the mobilization station where we focus more on the collective training aspects"
With the training spread out over a longer period of time, Soldiers get to spend more time at home
The 34th CAB Command Sgt Maj Gary Thesing said this training exercise is the first time the Soldiers will use Command Posts of the Future digital systems and the technology they'll have downrange, which will be invaluable
Lt Joe Munger, a 34th CAB intelligence officer from Farmington, Minn, said the training exercise gave him a chance to work with other people in his section Munger said he deployed to Baghdad previously and the upcoming deployment will be his second tour
"(The exercise) reinforces teambuilding In a National Guard unit, we don't always get to train together doing what we're going to do in theater," he said "This exercise tests our ability to analyze the data coming in and we have to produce intelligence for the command and for the pilots so they can perform the missions This is an outstanding facility The (technology) is phenomenal"
Sgt Christian Gay, 34th CAB flight operations noncommissioned officer from Hammond, La, agreed this exercise brings the Soldiers from different states together and gets them in the same mindset
"It helps build our relationships with our co-units from other states instead of being thrown into a mix at the mobilization station," he said "This training is a lot different than what I received before (my Iraq deployment in 2004-2005) We didn't have joint exercises This is a very good exercise for us"
One 34th CAB Soldier who is new to deployment preparation, Sgt Deshaundra Green, an administrative specialist from Dallas, said she received real-world training during the exercise
"I've learned a lot (The trainers) are throwing a lot of different scenarios at me to get me in the mind frame and to ensure I'm knowledgeable," she said "I was a little nervous before I got here, but the experience has been very enjoyable"
Assisting in the training were members of the 1st Brigade, 75th Battle Command Training Division from Houston and the 166th Aviation Brigade from Fort Riley, Kan
There is a key difference between the two units' responsibilities, according to Col Robert Samborski, senior observer/controller/trainer The 166th Avn Bde will stay with the 34th CAB during its training, through the time it mobilizes to the time they deploy The 75th BCTD is mission-specific and only comes to training events and augments and helps with the training process
"That's a dynamic piece because the 166th Avn Regt will be with the 34th CAB until they deploy, and that's really important," Samborski said
The 1st Bde, 75th BCTD representatives' goal is to ensure their training goes smoothly and guides them through a yearlong training process, according to Col (P) Jimmie Jaye Wells, 1st Bde, 75th BCTD commander
"Our function is to plan, coordinate and execute staff training and all that encompasses combat units, combat support units and combat service support units, in support of what is called the Army Force Generation Model That dictates where units are in a training cycle," Wells said "We specifically work with units prior to their departure for deployments and we assist them in a yearlong process We take them through a series of culminating events that takes them through a "˜crawl, walk, run' method of training"
The Soldiers must complete realistic missions and use accurate and up-to-date terrain maps of the area while the trainers incorporate stressors into the different exercises to allow the Soldiers to examine the situation and make the best decision on a minute's notice, Wells said
"The pilots get to fly over an exact replica (of the) terrain they'll see in Iraq," Wells said
Sgt Maj Scott Bailey, 1st Battalion, 291st Aviation Regiment, 166th Aviation Brigade, said his unit monitors the 34th CAB throughout the military decision-making process
"(The 34th CAB) starts in very small-scale operations that will culminate into one large event," he said "At the end, we'll have an (after action review) where we'll give them tips on what they did well or what they need to improve on"
The value of the experience the 34th CAB Soldiers receive here is immeasurable, Bailey added
The unit is training at Fort Rucker's Aviation Warfighting Simulation Center because of its ability to train a large number of Soldiers using the same equipment they'll use downrange, Samborski said
The facility has all the tools the Soldiers will have in-country and replicates specific scenarios to give them hands-on experience before they deploy
Fort Rucker offers graduate-level training, according to Samborski
"This is the premier aviation training facility," he said
By Michelle Owens
Army Flier Staff Writer
Article source: http://www.MontgomeryAdvertiser.com/
Camp Ripley strikes first before wildfire season
Posted: 2017-03-24 10:19 AM
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: 2017-03-23 09:46 AM
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: 2017-03-10 08:50 AM
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: 2017-03-08 03:29 PM
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.