History
Minnesota National Guard
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/



Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Bearcats toast mission success

Posted: 2014-10-23  12:31 PM
Bearcat MAHNOMEN, Minn.- Soldiers, families and friends of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry Regiment attended the unit's annual Bearcat Dinner, October 18, 2014.

The dinner, a tradition for the battalion, celebrated the proud lineages of the unit, as well as highlighted the accomplishments they have made over the past year.

"We have devoted a great deal of effort to pay attention to our unit readiness," said Sgt. 1st Class Shane Haugen, admin NCO for the battalion.



114th Transportation Company Welcome Home Ceremony

Posted: 2014-10-22  03:53 PM
Minnesota National Guard CHISHOLM, Minn.- The Minnesota National Guard's Chisholm-based 114th Transportation Company is scheduled to hold their 30-day reintegration event and welcome home ceremony Saturday at Chisholm High School after a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.

"A priority of the Minnesota National Guard is to improve the wellness and resiliency of service members and their family members," said Army Capt. Ryan R. Koester, 114th Transportation Company Commander.



Minnesota Military Radio talks Veterans Voices, sequestration

Posted: 2014-10-22  09:00 AM
Minnesota Military Radio SAINT PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Humanities Center honored 30 Minnesota Veterans who have gone above and beyond the call of duty with the 2014 Veterans' Voices awards, September 11, 2014. Two of these veterans - Dennis Schulstad, an Air Force veteran and retired brigadier general, and Capt. Amber Manke, a current member of the Minnesota Army National Guard - recently spoke about their community involvement on Minnesota Military Radio.

The Minnesota Humanity Center's veterans voices program draws on the power of humanities to call attention to the stories and contributions of veterans. It empowers Minnesota veterans to speak in their own voices through plays, art, discussion groups and the veterans voices award.

Also this week on Minnesota Military Radio, Col. (Ret.) Don Kerr warned listeners of the coming effects on the Minnesota National Guard due to congressional gridlock. Kerr, the president of the Vessey Chapter of the Association of the United States Army, reminded listeners that the coming automatic budget cut, known as sequestration, has returned and will mean a loss of about 80,000 Soldiers across the Army nationwide.



1/34th Brigade Special Troop Battalion Reorganizes; The Army of 2020

Posted: 2014-10-18  10:31 AM
334th BEB CAMP RIPLEY, Minn.- The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division (1/34th ABCT) completed its official reorganization of the 1/34th Brigade Special Troops Battalion (1/34th BSTB) to the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion (334th BEB), Oct. 18, 2014.

"This unit reorganization lays the groundwork for meeting the Army's 2020 vision in which brigades are self-contained combined arms formations," said Col. Robert Intress, 1/34th ABCT Commander.



133rd Airlift Wing Welcomes home Security Forces Squadron members from deployment

Posted: 2014-10-16  09:34 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn.- Thirteen airmen from the Minnesota National Guard's 133rd Airlift Wing Security Forces Squadron are scheduled to return Friday to Minnesota following a four-month deployment to Southwest Asia.

"During this deployment, the 133rd airmen melded with their active duty counterparts and utilized their citizen-airmen experiences and training to help fight the war on terrorism in an overseas environment," said Col. Terrance Sieben, the security forces squadron commander.



MPD Sgt. Blackwell: 'We're human, we have hearts, we care about people'

Posted: 2014-10-15  08:42 AM
Minnesota National Guard MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.(KMSP)- Talking with Minneapolis police Sgt. Katie Blackwell, it's clear she truly cares about her job and the people who live and work in the first precinct.When a man was sexually assaulting women in Ramp C downtown last week Sgt. Blackwell took it personally, making his arrest a top priority. The suspect was in custody within 48 hours.

"We just won't tolerate predators walking through our city and our communities, so yeah, I took it pretty personally," Sgt. Blackwell said.

To understand why she cares so much, one has to know where she's coming from, and it's quite a story. She grew up one of 10 kids in northeast Minneapolis, something Sgt. Blackwell says helps her connect with her community.



Article archive
 
top