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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota National Guard to Command Active-Duty Forces in Iraq

For only the second time since 9/11, a US Army National Guard division headquarters will deploy to command active-duty forces in combat

The Defense Department and Minnesota National Guard today announced that more than 1,000 Soldiers from the 34th "Red Bull" Infantry Division will mobilize for training in February for a yearlong deployment to Iraq that will begin in April "Minnesotans have grown accustomed to our National Guard forces leaving their families, employers, farms and communities in order to carry out vital missions in harm's way," Army Maj Gen Larry W Shellito, the state's adjutant general, said during a press conference today at the Rosemont National Guard Armory in Rosemont, Minn

More than 17,000 citizen-Soldiers and -airmen from Minnesota units have deployed since 9/11, but this particular mission is different, Shellito said

"The scope of this mission is unprecedented for the modern Minnesota National Guard," he said

The division headquarters will provide leadership, command and control, and in-depth staff analysis for more than 16,000 US, Salvadoran, Lithuanian and Romanian coalition troops in the southern third of the country

The "Red Bulls" also will have direct partnership with more than 40,000 Iraqi Soldiers and policemen across eight of Iraq's 18 provinces, all of which have been transitioned to provincial Iraqi control Coalition troops in the region are employed in a supporting role to Iraqi security forces, Shellito said

"The images of US troops fighting at close quarters in intense street battles are images of the past,"� he said "In order to make this transition happen we now need troops who are not only proficient in military skills, but are adept in assisting civil authorities as well"

Security responsibilities in the region "rest with professional and capable Iraqi security forces," Army Maj Gen Richard C Nash, commander of the 34th Infantry Division, said during the press conference He added that the days of "US-only operations" in Iraq are mostly over

"Our mission will be grounded with our relationship with the Iraqis," Nash said "We will conduct all operations by, with and through Iraqi security forces The measure of success for the 34th [Infantry] Division will be to what extent the government of Iraq is capable of providing for its own population"

The division primarily will focus on working with embedded provincial reconstruction teams from the US State Department to improve infrastructure and essential services as well as help the local governments stimulate the economy and job opportunities

"This is where our citizen-Soldiers will distinguish themselves," Nash said, citing that his unit includes Soldiers with years of experience in business, agriculture, law enforcement, law, medicine and other city services "We are committed to applying our civilian- and military-acquired skills to enabling Iraqi institutions to provide for their own people"

The division's headquarters, special troops battalion, division band and 34th Military Police Company will receive pre-deployment training at Fort Lewis, Wash In Iraq, they will relieve the 10th Mountain Division headquarters as Multinational Division Center

Article source: http://www.SOFMag.com/



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Litchfield and Local Veteran Honor Gen. John Vessey at Armory Open House

Posted: 2017-03-10  08:50 AM
Vessey Bust LITCHFIELD, Minn. -Bruce Cottington, a Navy veteran of WWII and Korea, donated a bronze bust of Gen. John W. Vessey, Jr. to the Litchfield National Guard unit during the armory's public open house event March 4. Cottington, a Litchfield resident, commands the Minnesota Chapter of the Veterans of Underage Military Service. VUMS members enlisted in the military prior to the minimum age requirement in order to serve their country during WWII. Cottington received the bust from Vessey, a fellow VUMS member. Both enlisted in the military at the age of 16.

The highlight of the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion open house was the unveiling of the sculpture. The unit was very supportive when Cottington proposed donating the sculpture. The Litchfield community has always been very supportive of the National Guard over the years, so the open house was a chance to say 'thanks' to their neighbors. "This was a great opportunity to honor Bruce and to honor Gen. Vessey," said B Co., 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion Commander, Capt. Seth Goreham. Bravo Company also has a tight relationship with the local American Legion and VFW. Many Litchfield citizens are former members of Bravo Company, or the unit's predecessors A Co, 682nd Engineer Battalion, and the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company.



Camp Ripley welcomes new command sergeant major

Posted: 2017-03-08  03:29 PM
CSM Erickson CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The garrison command team of Camp Ripley, family, friends and colleagues from the Minnesota National Guard attended a Change of Responsibility ceremony between Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Worden and Command Sgt. Maj. Matt Erickson, March 5, 2017, at Camp Ripley.

The ceremony was an official "passing of the sword" from one senior noncommissioned officer to the next and assumption of the duties and responsibilities that go along with the position of Garrison Command Sergeant Major.

As with many military ceremonies those in attendance welcomed Erickson as a new member of the team and bid farewell, recognized and thanked Worden for his service.



Norwegian youth recognized for response to vehicle accident

Posted: 2017-02-22  09:59 AM
NOREX youth CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Norwegian youths Stian Dahl and Haavard Engen received the Camp Ripley Garrison Commander's coin from Col. Scott St Sauver February 19, 2017, in recognition for reacting to a vehicle accident they witnessed earlier that week.

As part of the U.S.-Norway Reciprocal Troop Exchange, Norwegian youths ages 19-20 are matched up with a host family in order to spend an evening experiencing American culture. In most situations the "Buddy Weekend" as it's called allows the youths to go shopping, attend events and have home-cook meals along with their host family.

"We are able to match up youth members with families all over the state," said Staff Sgt. Tim Krouth, Buddy Weekend organizer. "Lots of the families have hosted one or two of our Norwegian friends for several years in a row now, it a great way to relax and see some of Minnesota."



To the top of the mountain and back, NOREX 44 members embrace the Norwegian winter

Posted: 2017-02-21  01:25 PM
NOREX FTX HALTDALEN, Norway - After two days at a base camp near Haltdalen, Norway, Minnesota National Guardsmen participating in the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange were ready for the most challenging aspect of their four-day field training exercise - a ski march up the mountain.

It was Day three of the FTX, meaning members of the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange had slowly adjusted to surviving and thriving while living in a winter environment and also honed their skills on cross country skills well enough to begin a climb that would take nearly three hours.

"Our goal was to get you to know how to use the winter, see how the Norwegians use the winter, and how we survive the winter so we can conduct combat," said Vidar Aune, one of several members of Home Guard 12 guiding the Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen during their training here. "By getting the experience living outside in the snow, you manage to survive it and handle it quite well."



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