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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Guard sending 1,000 to Iraq

When they arrive in Iraq next year, they'll administer forces in a third of the country -- and bring music along with their munitions

By MARK BRUNSWICK, Star Tribune

Last update: December 11, 2008 - 11:00 PM

Larger groups of Minnesota Soldiers have been deployed in recent years to Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo, but the new deployment announced Thursday will involve a level of responsibility unseen since the Second World War More than 1,000 troops will be deployed to Iraq early next year, the Minnesota National Guard announced, with the Guard's 34th Infantry Division taking over command of 16,000 coalition forces in eight of Iraq's 18 provinces

The Minnesota troops will deliver to the war zone not just firepower but the soothing sound of music to ease the weariness of warriors far from home

The 34th will provide leadership, command, logistics, and communication support for four active-duty brigades of more than 16,000 multinational coalition forces

Guard officials said they will be providing both civil and military skills to help move the country toward independence and stability

"It's important to know that this historic undertaking is not about conducting solely offensive military operations It's all about enabling the Iraqi people to take responsibility for their own affairs," said Maj Gen Richard Nash, who will command the division

The Minnesota group will operate in the southern third of Iraq and will have a direct partnership with more than 40,000 Iraqi forces, which include the Iraqi Army, National Police and Department of Border Enforcement The 1,037 Minnesota Soldiers will be headquartered at Camp Victory, outside Baghdad, and are expected to arrive in Iraq in April after training for two months at Fort Lewis, Wash They are expected to return home in February 2010

The bulk of the troops will come from the Rosemount-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division Headquarters Soldiers based in Inver Grove Heights, Faribault and Stillwater also will be deployed

Forty-three Soldiers from the Rosemount-based division band also are expected to be deployed The band will provide music for ceremonies such as turning a province back to the Iraqis or a city gaining a new level of security or graduations In addition, musical support teams are sent to outlying forward operating bases to boost troop morale

The band includes two separate rock bands, a country western band, a brass quintet, a saxophone ensemble, a woodwind trio and a small ceremonial band

"When you have troops in combat, the USO shows can't reach all the troops that are there," said Chief Warrent Officer Trygve Skarr, who heads the Guard band "But Army bands can because we are Soldiers first and we're musicians; that's our specialty I'm very thankful that the Army and the military in general recognize troop morale is a very important component of theater operations"

Changing mission

Lt Col Kevin Olson, a spokesman for the Minnesota Guard, said only eight National Guard divisions nationwide are large enough to support such a command The area the Guard will be responsible for is south of Baghdad, extending west to Anbar Province and south to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait It had been under the command of the Army's 10th Mountain Division It will be the first deployment for nearly 700 of the 1,037 Soldiers and the fourth deployment for 22 of them

As offensive military operations in Iraq lessen, the Guard assignment reflects the change The country will be establishing itself as a sovereign nation and the Status of Forces Agreement that was recently passed by the Iraqi parliament and approved by Iraq's Presidency Council is expected to ratchet back direct military action by coalition forces

"The days of US-only unilateral operations are, for the most part, over And our mission will be grounded with relationships with the Iraqis," Nash said "The measure of success for the 34th division will be to what extent the government of Iraq is capable of providing for its own population"

Mark Brunswick, 651-222-1636

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



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Officers convene for 112th Meeting of the National Guard Association of Minnesota

Posted: 2017-04-28  12:38 PM
NGAMN conference MANKATO, Minn. - Commissioned leaders of the Minnesota National Guard convened for the 112th General Conference of the National Guard Association of Minnesota at the Verizon Wireless Center and Hilton Garden Inn, Mankato, on April 22, 2017.

The annual gathering of association members - who serve as advocates for the needs of Soldiers, Airmen and their families - includes a business meeting, commanders march, formal dining event and transfer of responsibility to the chapter's new president.

The day's event began with a business meeting, which focused on the association's mission of educating and informing legislators on the issues facing the current and future role of the National Guard in serving Minnesota communities. The strategic planning meeting was attended by Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, his staff and unit commanders.



Camp Ripley earns top environmental award

Posted: 2017-04-26  02:09 PM
Mississippi River 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
Neely 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
Holocaust Museum 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."



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