| 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/
347th RSG's top Soldiers gut it out for title of Best Warrior
Posted: 2016-10-17 03:24 PM
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: 2016-10-16 10:46 AM
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: 2016-10-12 01:57 PM
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: 2016-10-12 12:45 PM
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.