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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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347th RSG units test unique capabilities during Combined Support Training Exercise

Posted: 2017-08-16  03:35 PM
347 RSG FORT MCCOY, Wisconsin - The 347th Regional Support Group commander and command sergeant major traveled to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, Aug. 15, 2017, to recognize several Soldiers training there.

The 204th Area Medical Support Company, 147th Financial Management Support Detachment and 247th FMSD are all conducting their annual training periods in neighboring Wisconsin, with their own mission-specific exercises that fall under the Combat Support Training Exercise taking place throughout the brigade.

The leadership duo of Col. Lowell Kruse and Command Sgt. Maj. Marcus Erickson began their day with a stop at the 147th FMSD's training area, where they watched Soldiers participate in the Diamond Saber exercise. Throughout the event, the 147th FMSD - a 25-Soldier operation preparing for deployment - is exercising its dispersing, military pay and contracting functions in an interactive environment with actual customers to serve and transactions to process.



500 Minnesota soldiers notified for 2018 deployment

Posted: 2017-08-14  03:54 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2017

ROSEMOUNT, Minn.- More than 500 Soldiers from the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division headquarters have been notified of a possible deployment to Southwest Asia beginning in the fall of 2018.

"The Red Bulls maintain a high level of readiness, and over the next 12 months, our soldiers will train for this mission while also preparing their families and civilian employers here at home," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, 34th Infantry Division commanding general. "The official notification is an important step in the process of building readiness for an overseas deployment."

The planned deployment is expected to last up to one year. The notified units are based in Rosemount, Inver Grove Heights, and Faribault; however, the soldiers hail from 10 different states and the District of Columbia.



347th RSG trains to master tactical, uninterrupted sustainment support

Posted: 2017-08-10  08:14 AM
347 RSG CSTX CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - After three busy days establishing a field command post and integrating units from across the country, the 347th Regional Support Group is underway with a three-week Combat Support Training Exercise during annual training at Camp Ripley.

It began with a Command Post Exercise on Aug. 8, 2017, but it couldn't begin until the tenants of "Tactical Assembly Area Victory" established meal service, sleeping arrangements, shower and laundry accommodations and, of course, the tactical command post.

"We do the exercise to make sure our equipment works, and once that is established we as a staff figure out how to sync together," said Sgt. Maj. Marc Dempsey, logistics operations sergeant major for the 347th RSG. "The exercise is for making sure we as a staff are working together as one team, with everyone knowing their role, for when we go into the main event."



Military kids participate in Minnesota National Guard Youth Camp

Posted: 2017-08-07  02:08 PM
Youth Camp CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Summer camp as a kid and young teen is usually filled with memories of campfires, swimming in the lake and BBQs. Camp Ripley Training Center hosted the Minnesota National Guard Youth Camp (MNGYC) for more than 200 military kids this year. The experience for the military kids who attend the camp relies heavily on donations and nearly 150 volunteers from around the state that come and spend the week with them.

Lindsay Koolmo is a volunteer and the executive director for the MNGYC. She is a military spouse, a volunteer firefighter and a mutations maintenance Tech Sergeant from the 148th Fighter Wing. She has taken upon herself for years to take time off her job and spend hundreds of hours throughout the year and more than two weeks at Camp Ripley to lead the camp.

Her affiliation with the MNGYC started early, in 1992 she was a camper, became a junior counselor, then was a junior counselor and then became an adult counselor.



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