| 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/
Red Bulls train for readiness and resiliency
Posted: 2015-11-30 03:05 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Soldiers of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division conducted maneuver training on Camp Ripley Nov. 21-22, 2015.
"It was a good weekend for our annual weapons qualification, we got a lot of tasks taken care of," said Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Lanoux with D Co. 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.
The training is in preparation for the upcoming rotation at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif., next summer. Fort Irwin is one of several premier training sites for the joint and combined arms training opportunities focused on tough and realistic scenarios units may face in a full spectrum operation.
Woman's Veterans Initiative Shows Major Muscle with Habitat for Humanity Build
Posted: 2015-11-25 09:37 AM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Women Veterans Initiative (WVI), a group orientated toward networking Minnesota women military members and veterans brought 16 service(wo)men from all services, ages and backgrounds together, November 12, to assist in a Habitat for Humanity build. Eleven of the 16 women are current or former Minnesota National Guardsmen.
"We started celebrating Veterans Day this way in 2008 with Habitat for Humanity and enjoy coming back each year to build," said Trista Matascastillo, program officer for Veterans Voices and chairman for the WVI. "We learn new skills, build our own confidence and make new friends. There are 27,000-plus women vets in Minnesota and so often we hear that women veterans feel isolated and alone and having events like this is just another way to bring us out and together."
The group started in the morning with a brief on the tasks for the day and quickly got to work, going above and beyond by organizing the work-site and making sure there was a high attention to detail.
Empowering Girls and Influencing the Next Generation
Posted: 2015-11-17 10:51 AM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Air National Guard and the Soroptimist International of the Twin Cities partnered together to present the documentary film 'Girl Rising' at the 133rd Airlift Wing on Saturday, Nov 7 2015.
The event featured a C-130 tour for any of the attendees, which included girls as young as nine. Following the tour, the documentary film 'Girl Rising' was featured and ended with a panel discussion. Topics included overcoming obstacles, mentors and people who have inspired them along the way.
"I think events like this are essential in opening our doors to the community and raising awareness about important issues not only local, but around the world - often these are places many of our wing members have deployed to," said Master Sgt. Theresa Mensinger, Diversity and Inclusion Senior Non-commissioned officer.
Duluth's 148th Fighter Wing has new leader
Posted: 2015-11-16 07:47 AM
DULUTH, Minn. - With the handing-off of the 148th Fighter Wing's flag on Saturday, Col. Jon Safstrom has become the new wing commander.
The Duluth native assumed the leadership role from Col. Frank Stokes, who is leaving Duluth after leading the 148th for more than six years to become chief of current operations at the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Va.
During Saturday's Change of Command Ceremony at the Minnesota Air National Guard base in Duluth, Stokes passed the flag of the 148th "Bulldogs" to Brig. Gen. David Hamlar, who then passed the flag to Safstrom, symbolizing the accepting of the command.