| 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/
Norwegian youth recognized for response to vehicle accident
Posted: 2017-02-22 09:59 AM
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: 2017-02-21 01:25 PM
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: 2017-02-16 10:52 AM
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: 2017-02-12 01:38 PM
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."