/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
Minnesota National Guard
Annual Training for 851st expands Disabled Veterans Rest Camp

Soldiers of the 851st Vertical Engineer Company spent their annual training period this June constructing rest homes for the Disabled Veterans Rest Camp in Washington County, Minn

Specifically, the unit's task was to build two new cabins of 1,600 square feet each, and to build them from the ground up

But Tom Ferris, general manager of the camp, said the 851st didn't stop with the cabins The unit took on task after task: installing 450 feet of privacy fence, planting 50 trees to provide wind breaks, making the showers wheelchair-accessible, pouring 17 concrete slabs for dumpsters, laying coaxial cable for future television access, repainting just about everything, and much more And it's all compliant to code

"They just would not stop," said Ferris

The rest area now has 14 finished cabins to go along with the 120 RV (recreational vehicle) sites and 35 tenting areas Ferris estimates that anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 veterans, including spouses and children, pass through the rest camp in a summer And now, the 851st has helped to expand that capacity

"I've never seen such courteous Guard members in my life," he said, adding that the 851st got along extremely well with the older veterans currently at the camp The unit "had the deepest respect, and they showed it to all the veterans out here," said Ferris

Morale within the unit was sky high, says 1st Sgt Jeremy L Frank, the lead NCO on the project More than 100 of the company's Soldiers were on site during the construction

"Everybody's busy, and everybody's doing stuff that they like," said Frank

The 851st is coming off a year-long mobilization, having returned home from Baghdad last July While deployed, the unit constructed more than 220,000 square feet of building, installed 288,000 feet of wire, and built three combat outposts for Coalition and Iraqi forces

Here at home, Frank said that this training environment has given the recently deployed Soldiers and the other Soldiers an opportunity to come together and provide a good cross-training opportunity

"We have 12 block layers today that we did not have on Sunday, because the guys took the time to teach them," said Frank during the construction

"This is a great project, and I'm really learning a lot," said Spc Joshua Peterson, halfway through the project Peterson is an interior electrician with the 851st and a fairly new Soldier He found the experience at the camp extremely useful

"I think it's really rewarding that we're helping out veterans that put their time in," he said

Camp in operation since 1926

Located in May Township in Washington County, near Hugo, the camp was established for veterans in 1926 when the concern of the day was 'shell shock' and the casualty rates from war were much higher Since then, the camp has served the veteran community continuously for more than 80 years

It was a new idea to use an annual training period on such a project, according to Ferris, based on what the Guard members were telling him

The idea was conceived, he said, when a few camp managers met with Maj Shaun Riffe of the 84th Troop Command, who wanted to reserve an area for a few of his Soldiers Eventually the National Guard Bureau signed off on the idea, and the unit went ahead with the project

Everyone associated with the project is happy with the results and is anticipating similar efforts in the future

And 1st Sgt Frank said it has been the best training environment he has seen in his 17 years in the Army

"This is real life," he said "This is something usable, it's something tangible, it's something people can come back to in years to come"

by Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
June 26, 2009

June 26, 2009: 851st construction expands Disabled Veterans Rest Camp - Low-Res

Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

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.

Guard Heritage Suffers with Loss of Artillery Unit

Posted: 2017-10-04  11:22 AM
ETAB ANOKA, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard lost one of its most historically significant units when the 151st Artillery's E Battery, (Target Acquisition) cased its colors in a ceremony at the Anoka High School Aug. 19, 2017.

The Target Acquisition Battery (ETAB), 151st Field Artillery is one of the oldest and most decorated units in the Minnesota National Guard and the 34th Infantry Division. "Both Minnesota and the Division lose the proud lineage that goes back to Civil War days, through WW1 and WW2, and had a significant amount of battle streamers," said 151st Field Artillery Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Cornwell.

The 151st Field Artillery draws its lineage from the 1st Regiment, Minnesota Heavy Artillery of 1864 which fought two major campaigns in Tennessee during the Civil War.

In one month: Minnesota Guardsmen support Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

Posted: 2017-09-29  02:25 PM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - In the span of a few weeks, three major hurricanes hit different parts of the southern United States, causing widespread damage and destruction and requiring the response of agencies around the country. The Minnesota National Guard is one of the many organizations that have responded, sending Soldiers and Airmen to Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

"This is the most gratifying deployment of my career," said Capt. Jeremy Maxey with the 133rd Airlift Wing who was called back from his vacation early to go to the Virgin Islands. "It means a lot to be able to actually directly help people. It's why I serve. Throughout my career I've deployed numerous times, but this is the one where you actually see the people you serve."

The start of the month brought the first request for assistance. On Sept. 1, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 11 personnel from the St. Cloud-based B Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment left for Texas following Hurricane Harvey to transport personnel and equipment in support of response efforts.

Finding fellowship in the sacred mission

Posted: 2017-09-26  12:02 PM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - One of the most difficult, most sacred, honorable duties in the military is one that people don't often think about. It takes compassion, empathy, care, and requires great resilience. It is one that when called upon to train for, they hope to rarely perform because it means another Soldier has been lost. It is the duty of casualty notification officer and casualty assistance officer.

About 45 Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers came to Camp Ripley, Minnesota, on September 21-22, 2017, for a Reset Seminar to find fellowship in one specific thing they have in common: delivering the worst news in the Army.

When a Soldier dies at home or overseas, CNOs and CAOs must notify and help families through the process, including paperwork, benefits, and funeral arrangements.

Article archive