| 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/
Camp Ripley earns top environmental award
Posted: 2017-04-26 02:09 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Department of Defense announced that Camp Ripley was selected as the winner of the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation.
The awards recognize individuals, teams and installations for their exceptional environmental achievements and innovative, cost-effective environmental practices.
"The winners' efforts strengthen the Department of Defense's position as a resourceful environmental steward, both at home and abroad, and demonstrate our continued commitment to fulfilling mission needs through advanced environmental practices and technologies," stated James A. MacStravic, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
Minnesota Guardsman finds work with victims in the military and the local community rewarding
Posted: 2017-04-26 10:57 AM
COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Nicquie Neely has been working with victims of sexual assault for four years in the Minnesota National Guard and also volunteers as a victim advocate in the community. As a victim advocate, it's her job to believe and support victims through a difficult process that can often involve extensive medical care and legal proceedings.
"Ever since I joined the Guard and heard about the SHARP program and learned what a victim advocate was, I always wanted to be one," said Neely. "And then I learned that you had to be an E-6 to be in that position, so the minute I got promoted I asked my commander if I could go to the training."
Neely is a combat medic and the full-time training and administration NCO with Company C, 134th Brigade Support Battalion. In addition to military victim advocate training, Neely also attends regular training with the civilian organization she volunteers for - SOS Sexual Violence Services in Ramsey County.
Minnesota National Guard Remembers the Holocaust with Jewish Community Relations Council
Posted: 2017-04-24 10:43 AM
Washington - Members of the Minnesota National Guard and the Air Force Reserve traveled to Washington D.C. with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (also known as the JCRC), to visit the Holocaust Museum, April 4, 2017, to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Also, traveling with this group were St. Paul and Minneapolis police officers along with students from various high schools around the state. For those in uniform that day, it was an opportunity to see, hear and experience the stories of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
Each Service member who attended was asked to bring back a summary of their experience in the form of a presentation, professional discussion or briefing to their respective unit in order to help other Guard members better understand and remember that horrible event, to honor the courage of the victims and survivors, and to remain vigilant as members of the U.S. military.
"The honor and privilege of accompanying members of the Minnesota National Guard to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. met so many goals," said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the JCRC. "I wanted to reinforce the importance of the commitment of the U.S. military to democracy. After all, it was the Allies that defeated Nazi Germany and ultimately put an end to the Holocaust."
Learning to instruct professionalism and discipline
Posted: 2017-04-19 02:15 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - It was a challenging and rewarding two weeks for members attending the Army National Guard Funeral Honors Instructor Course, April 1-14, at Camp Ripley.
Soldiers of National Guard units from all over the United States took part in the course designed to educate team leaders in a variety of funeral honor detail tasks, traditions and responsibilities.
"It's a stressful course, but for our job, we have to be prepared to do our job under stress; and we all really benefitted from that," said Class Honor Grad, Sgt. Ryan Valline of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.