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Minnesota National Guard
Soldiers Use Skills Learned at Home

The situation in Iraq is not easily defined Some classify it as a conflict Others scream war Many troops here see it as a routine; a part of what they call life for a brief moment Throughout history, many things have changed in our military Within these changes some things carry on Pride for ones country, family and community have been with troops for as long as we can research
Service for one's country may be as big a sacrifice as any

Few objects can change a war, but culture and terrain are two of the most important factors in which troops struggle to obtain victory The United States Military is one of the most adaptable military organizations in the world US troops from all generations relied on our mobility capabilities for the many great battles of history The terrain here in Iraq is a desert Temperatures reach well over the 140-degree mark, which not only challenges a troop's physical and mental toughness, but also takes a major toll on the equipment Fortunately, the US military produces more vehicles than you can imagine with the necessary versatility required

Missions in Iraq present a broad spectrum of demands for vehicles These vehicles were made to engage in the roughest conditions and perform at high levels, keeping our troops above our adversaries Here in Iraq, many of these "all terrain" vehicles are found running highway routes at highway speeds The maintenance platoon of Company G, 134th Brigade Support Battalion (134 BSB), attached to the 1st Battalion 125th Field Artillery (1-125 FA) is well prepared for this needed change This equipment requires extra attention and maintenance to keep the pace here in Iraq The maintenance platoon of the 125th here at Corps Support Command (CSC) Scania is known to be exceptional in this field
One advantage that sets the National Guard apart from the Army is that many of the mechanics in the guard are also mechanics in the civilian world This brings an enormous amount of knowledge within the group Schooling is provided with the intention of getting all mechanics the mechanical knowledge, similar to teaching every Soldier to be effective with each weapon

These troops dedicate themselves to performing at maximum effectiveness, knowing that another project waits Many times, the mechanic is forced to work at a difficult pace in all conditions to get this equipment ready for upcoming missions Along with break down maintenance, these mechanics also need to stay on top of annual service, update the equipment and add extra materials, providing the operators with added protection and performance

3rd Platoon, Company G, 134th Brigade Support Battalion not only excels in vehicle maintenance but also "add on" maintenance, with its air conditioning and welding program Air conditioning in Iraq is vital in all vehicles, due to the enormous amount of personnel protective gear each Soldier is required to wear During extreme heat, air conditioning keeps the inside vehicle at a bearable temperature This provides all the Soldiers with the means to accomplish the mission at maximum performance Each vehicle must have this equipment operational before every mission These a/c mechanics prove to be a necessity working all hours during the summer season Welders in the 1-125 also took on a vital role in improving the equipment and also increasing the armor that keeps our Soldiers safe

These few troops have had the chance to really show what they have to offer

Maintenance runs 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week With every Soldier fighting the everyday battles, these mechanics fight beside them, keeping all equipment at a high-operational level In today's battles, a Soldier's vehicle is as much of importance as their weapon

Here are some of the mechanics working in Company G, from Sleepy Eye Minnesota:
Sgt Zach Hammerschmidt, son of Mark and Cheri Hammerschmidt of Sleepy Eye has worked as a military mechanic for 6 years and knows what it takes to perform at the level needed to accomplish the mission Hammerschmidt from Headquarters, 1-125 originally enlisted as a Bradley fighting vehicle track mechanic As the 125th and the entire 34th infantry division reorganized for the deployment he compared his skills to a field artillery mechanic and has been filling that role

Spc James Allison spent 3 years in the Regular Army as a light-wheeled mechanic and now retains his maintenance abilities as a mechanic in the Minnesota National Guard Allison, son of Keith and Tamara Allison, knows the common problems and difficulties mechanics see and uses his prior learning to uphold the military standard

Spc David Karow works in Company G as both a Bradley mechanic and also an all-wheeled mechanic Karow takes his knowledge in diesel mechanics to a higher level Karow often works as a diesel mechanic here at Scania and is a diesel mechanic in the civilian world Karow is one mechanic that provides CSC Scania with a level of knowledge that helps set the 1-125 apart from the rest

Spc Matt Helget, son of Harlen and Nita Helget of Darfur, and Spc Matt Uecker, son of Kathy Uecker of Lafayette and Howie Uecker of Gaylord, know, all too well, what it takes to reform from artillerymen to wheeled mechanics Uecker, formally of Service Battery 125th, recalls has extremely difficult duties Uecker is a nightshift mechanic Many times working with little light, Uecker controls the overflow of maintenance and also works with many troops, giving a quick repair to convoys just passing by Helget, an 8-year mechanic in the military, is well known as one of the best in the 1-125 Helget is known to work above and beyond to deliver outstanding performance

Spc Jeremy Reinarts of Sleepy Eye knows what it really means to change in the military Reinarts enlisted as an artillery turret mechanic After spending 6 weeks of school in Camp Shelby for light wheeled maintenance, Reinarts now is one of Company G's full-time welders This was an easy change for Reinarts, a five year welder of Mathiowetz Construction Company in Sleepy Eye Reinarts is the son of Kevin Reinarts and Joan Stanfford

Spc Wayne Christensen, son of Dan and Deb Christensen, uses his military occupation as a welder and has now taken on the role of night shift mechanic Christensen has a difficult job, working all hours of the night on many different projects at once So many times, a challenge arises during his shift that needs to be accomplished within a few hours

The mechanics of the 1-125 continue to perform at the highest level of excellence, using their Minnesota ingenuity and dedication

By Spc Jeremy Reinarts

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Iowa Red Bull takes command of 34th Infantry Division

Posted: 2017-12-13  10:11 AM
Minnesota National Guard JOHNSTON, Iowa - Brig. Gen. Benjamin J. Corell, Deputy Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, assumed command of the 34th Infantry Division "Red Bulls" during a ceremony in Rosemount, Minnesota, on December 9, 2017.

Headquartered in Minnesota, the division has been commanded almost-exclusively by members of the Minnesota National Guard since 1968.

"Typically there's been very few people who have been allowed to command the 34th Infantry Division that didn't come from the state of Minnesota," Corell said.

Minnesota-based aviation unit honors storied division, enters into new, 'expeditionary' era

Posted: 2017-12-12  11:29 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade (ECAB), who recently celebrated a year full of achievements, have embraced a new name: Red Devils.

The St. Paul-based unit hosted its annual aviation brigade ball Dec. 9, at the Envision Event Center in Oakdale, Minnesota, where the unit's new logo was unveiled.

Soldiers of the 34th ECAB, which falls under and supports the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, will continue to wear the Red Bull insignia on their uniforms. However, they will now be known and referred to as the Red Devils, a name that pays homage to the division's historical accomplishments and fierce warfighting.

Minnesota Nice Extends to Puerto Rico

Posted: 2017-12-08  12:08 PM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP SANTIAGO, Puerto Rico - It has been more than two months since Hurricane Maria stuck Puerto Rico, leaving a trail of disaster behind it. The island was in dire need of some extra help. More than 230 Air National Guardsmen from 29 states have been deployed to the island and are helping in any way they can.

Eleven of those Airmen are from the Minnesota National Guard's 148th Fighter Wing out of Duluth, Minn. and the 133rd Airlift Wing out of St. Paul, Minn., are no exception in their desire to lend a helping hand. They have been at Camp Santiago, Puerto Rico, since before Thanksgiving and will leave around mid-December. Their mission is to feed military and civilian hurricane relief workers, giving them the much-needed fuel to complete their mission throughout the day.

Governor Mark Dayton installs new Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General

Posted: 2017-11-04  04:16 PM
TAG installation ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton administered the oath of office to Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, installing him as the Minnesota National Guard's 31st Adjutant General during a ceremony in St. Paul, November 4, 2017.

"General Jensen has been a tremendous leader of the Minnesota National Guard throughout his years of dedicated service," said Governor Dayton. "He has served in two top leadership positions, as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, and also as the Chief of Staff at the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. I am confident that he will continue to provide the same outstanding leadership as his predecessor, General Rick Nash."

Jensen most recently served as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. He previously held positions as Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Africa and Southern European Task Force, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff and Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Army.

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