/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
Minnesota National Guard
Armed forces on foot

Kevin Pates | wwwDuluthNewsTribunecom

An American flag was draped in the open bay door of an airborne Black Hawk helicopter June 21 at Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo

First Lieutenant Niels Gott of Stillwater, Minn, had requested the flyover to signal the start of a marathon and half-marathon for troops serving with the Minnesota National Guard's A Company, 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry At 6 am, about 150 Soldiers started the course along the camp's outer perimeter for races of 131 or 262 miles as temperatures moved from the 70s to the 80s

The prize for finishing was a customized T-shirt provided by Grandma's Marathon, which was holding its own races the same day along the North Shore

Gott, 33, e-mailed Grandma's Marathon officials in February looking for a partnership

"We wanted to find a race in Minnesota to connect with and it was a great goal to work toward as we neared the end of our rotation in Kosovo It was the pinnacle of our time there," Gott said last week after the National Guard company returned to the United States "There were smiles all around, especially after everyone saw the T-shirts"

It was the second straight year Grandma's Marathon was sought as a sponsor and T-shirt supplier of a race by a deployed Minnesota Guard group The 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry based in Moorhead held a half-marathon at Camp Taqaddum in Iraq to coincide with the 2007 Grandma's Marathon and Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon Members of the Air Force, Marines and Navy also took part

Capt Steve Timm of Red Wing, a chaplain with the 136th, was an organizer of the Iraq half-marathon When he came to Duluth to run the 2008 Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon last month, he presented a commemorative plaque to the Grandma's staff

Photos of the run surround a Minnesota Army National Guard emblem, and are accompanied by the inscription: "Many thanks from Chaplain Steve Timm, Sgt First Class Kerry Buckle, and 2-136 Infantry Battalion"

There were tears all around, Grandma's Marathon executive director Scott Keenan said

"I wanted to thank the Grandma's folks personally and let them know how much our guys appreciated their help," said Timm, 35, pastor of United Lutheran Church in Red Wing, and now assigned to the 682nd Engineer Battalion in Willmar, Minn "Our tour had been extended at that time and we were all thinking, "˜We've been here 15 months and we should be home' There was a feeling you had nothing left in the tank

"We wanted to have a couple of hours to be part of a race and take our minds off the war It was more than just a run It gave us something to rally around and we made an event of it"

The Iraq race began at 5:15 am after a safety briefing to discuss possible mortar attacks The temperature at the finish was in the 90s as Timm completed the course in about 1 hour, 47 minutes, 20 seconds, which, amazingly, would be within one second of his time in the 2008 Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon

In each overseas event, a missed running opportunity led to a race

Duluth Soldiers Sgt Jon LaCore and Spc Steve Fosness planned to be in the 2006 Grandma's Marathon, but had their tours extended and missed the race They came up with the idea of the Iraq half-marathon and 250 Soldiers completed the course, which had portions flanked by barbed wire and offered one lone palm tree

Gott planned to run the 2007 Twin Cities Marathon in October, but instead was heading to Kosovo on a peacekeeping mission with the 135th Soldiers have the opportunity to participate in basketball, floor hockey, volleyball and softball in Kosovo, he said, but the marathon and half-marathon were particularly popular with about 150 entries, 25 in the marathon

His marathon training was at 5 am most days, making use of a five-mile loop at the camp and a Garmin Forerunner GPS personal trainer watch

"There was a low level of danger for the runners, but we did ask Soldiers from the battalion, from other countries [Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania] to act as our security element during the race," said Gott, who was on his second Kosovo tour "It was a clear, beautiful day and it was a real challenge for the runners I know my legs were sore afterward"

Gott, the company's signal officer, said he finished the marathon in about 4:49, while the marathon winner, William Haley, from Iowa, finished in 3:43:47 Second place finisher Jacek Schmidt, of the Polish Army, finished in 3:47:31 and Carlos Manuel Morais of the Portuguese Army, was third in 3:47:46

If finishing times from Kosovo are supplied, Grandma's Marathon plans to add them to their official 2008 results booklet, Keenan said

"In both years, we had Soldiers who had planned to run a marathon in the US, and couldn't, so we thought it was the least we could do to send them some shirts and lift their spirits," said Grandma's Marathon public relations director Bob Gustafson, who teamed with Laura Bergen, director of event and program development, to fulfill the National Guard requests

Three weeks later, the 400 troops with the 135th were back in Minnesota to units in West St Paul, Rochester, Alberta Lea, Austin and Mankato Welcome home celebrations were held Thursday The company had traveled more than 500,000 miles, completed more than 12,000 patrols, 1,500 vehicle checkpoints and nearly 80 air missions, and squeezed in two distance races

Article source: www.DuluthNewsTribune.com

Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Minnesota State Fair Military Appreciation Day to recognize women veterans

Posted: 2018-08-27  12:34 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The Minnesota State Fair's eighth annual Military Appreciation Day will take place Tuesday, August 28, and provide an educational opportunity for all fairgoers to learn about Minnesota's military community. This year's theme is honoring Minnesota's women veterans.

"The Minnesota State Fair is a great opportunity to bring our community together to show appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our state's veterans," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, The Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "This year, I am proud to stand with women veterans as we highlight their stories and contributions to our armed forces."

Minnesota Guardsmen learn survival skills, train with Norwegian counterparts

Posted: 2018-07-03  01:36 PM
NOREX 45 Over the course of 10 days, 100 Soldiers and Airmen from the Minnesota National Guard who traveled to Norway June 17-26, 2018, for the 45th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange learned valuable survival skills and shared their knowledge with members of the Norwegian Home Guard. This year's exchange was the second to take place during the summer months in the history of the longest-running military partnership between two nations.

"It was a great experience for both the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard," said Capt. 'Kiwi' HorgA�ien, the senior Norwegian instructor. "A cultural exchange, a social exchange and military exchange all packed into one."

The 45th exchange got off to a late start, with flight delays causing the trip to be shortened from its normal length of two weeks. The delay meant that the Minnesota Guardsmen jumped right into training, heading out to the field after just a few hours of sleep.

133rd Airlift Wing Emphasizes Combat Readiness Training

Posted: 2018-06-29  10:48 AM
Alpena ALPENA, Michigan - Approximately 300 U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participated in a readiness exercise at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Alpena, Mich.

The exercise, tagged as Iron Ore, was designed test the Airmen abilities to set up operations at an unfamiliar location and receive in depth training on Ability-To-Survive and Operate (ATSO) principles while supporting airlift and aeromedical flight operations.

To ensure mission success and readiness, Airmen had to complete training at home station prior to leaving for Alpena. Some of this training included weapons qualification, gas mask fit testing, Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) familiarization, self-aid and buddy care and career field training.

Red Bulls Kickoff Division Warfighter

Posted: 2018-06-13  01:38 PM
DIV WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - "A Warfighter is an exercise that allows the Division to evaluate their ability to maneuver assets in a battle," said Master Sgt. Greg Weaver, the Operations Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge for the Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion. "It is designed to focus on particular areas and specific objectives to be evaluated or tested."

The Division has geared its' planning and training efforts in preparation for Warfighter since July 2017. Coordinating transportation for Soldiers and equipment was often on the mind of Maj. David Johansson, the logistics officer for the 34th ID. With the coordination of Johansson and his team, troops and equipment all converged on Camp Atterbury, enlisting the help of 89 railcars, 280 tractor-trailers, and nearly 50 buses for the movement.

"I like to say my job is to 'quiet the noise'". Johansson continued, "The noise being a real life logistical problem that could impede the exercise."

Article archive