| Minnesota news anchor visits Soldiers at COB Basra
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE BASRA, Iraq " Noted Minnesota anchorman Don Shelby hasn't been sleeping much lately Ever since he embedded with the 34th "Red Bull" Infantry Division, he has been rushing from one end of Contingency Operating Base (COB) Basra to another, braving sandstorms, interviewing Soldiers and sharing their stories
Shelby's cameraman, Tom Aviles, winner of 30 regional Emmys, slept even less " two hours in two days " but Shelby said that's his own fault
"He's compulsive," said Shelby, winner of two Peabody Awards "He wants to get every photo and every shot"
Although Shelby has served in the military and has been a war correspondent in Israel and Egypt, this was his first trip to Iraq He said he felt privileged to cover the Red Bulls
"These men and women are professionals in our community," said Shelby "Not only are they on the front lines as Soldiers, but they also extend their skills and experiences with Iraqi communities It is my honor to share their stories with the people back home"
The trip, which was in the planning stages for months, got off to a rocky start when Shelby and Aviles were unable to leave their tents in Kuwait for three days because of raging sandstorms
"The troops deserve a purple heart just for dealing with the horrible conditions in this part of the world," blogged Aviles
"Don is the ultimate outdoorsman, so for him tents are fun," Aviles continued "I do not share his enthusiasm"
Once in COB Basra, Shelby and Aviles watched the Vikings-Packers football game, one half with Soldiers at the base coffee shop and one half with military policemen on duty at the gates
"So far, it has been like taking a trip to Brainerd," Shelby said, referring to the city in northern Minnesota "The setting is different, but the people are the same, and it's as if you were at the State Fair"
Shelby and Aviles made sure to meet with Soldiers, many of whom, like Sgt David Walkner, a Glenville, Minn, native and a human resources manager with the 34th Inf Div, grew up watching Shelby on WCCO
Walkner's home was just outside the WCCO viewing area when he was growing up So, every Sunday, the Walkner family would point their antenna toward the Twin Cities to watch Don Shelby
"It brought a sense of home," said Walkner, "definitely a change of pace"
"We can only imagine what it is like for these men and women to be in harm's way constantly and to be so far away from the people and places they love," blogged Shelby
"In our conversations with them, we can tell that we represent a part of what they miss," Shelby continued "They want to talk about the Twins and the Vikings and the Gophers They want to talk about the weather and their favorite lakes to fish
"We are more than happy to bring that small part of home to them"
In addition, Shelby and Aviles traveled to a medical hospital in Basrah to cover a possible collaboration with the University of Minnesota Col Michael Rath, a Mankato, Minn, native and division surgeon, had hatched a plan to bring University of Minnesota doctors to Basrah to teach Iraqi medical students
"That was one of the best stories that I have covered anywhere," Shelby said, "because it beat my expectations going in"
"It helped expand the breadth of my knowledge about the war," Shelby said "It's not just infantry work, but it's rebuilding, developing trust so they can stand up on their own when we pull out"
"It's simply people trying to help people," Shelby said "It's a part of Iraq that is not understood by most people"
"You think it is all about fighting," said Shelby, formerly of the US Air Force "I know you fight for the peace"
Shelby, a mainstay of Minnesota television since 1978, produced four broadcasts, which aired Monday to Wednesday
By Pfc J Princeville Lawrence, MND-S
November 6, 2009
For queries, contact the Multi-National Division â€“ South Public Affairs at MND-S_PAO@iraq.centcom.mil; by phone at (Iraqna) 0790-194-2865 or 770-263-9379. For more MND-S news, visit our website: www.TheRedBulls.org.
WCCO stories and video
WCCO-TV Anchor Don Shelby is with Photojournalist Tom Aviles spent the last several days in the Middle East with Minnesota National Guard Soldiers.
Photojournalist Tom Aviles Blogs From Iraq
Don Shelby Embedded With Troops In Mideast
History Of 34th Infantry Division Red Bulls
Minn. Troops, Don Shelby Watch Vikes Game In Iraq
Red Bulls Protect, Teach At Basra Medical School
Dangerous Daily Travels For Humvee Convoys In Iraq
Special Delivery From Minn. To Red Bulls In Iraq
Flying Over Oil Fields, Watching Iraqi Money Burn
WCCO's Don Shelby Flies Over Famous Iraq Oil Field
Blast Walls Protect Red Bulls At Basra Base
WCCO Crew Encounters Missile Threat In Iraq
Never Far From Memories Of Fallen Comrades In Iraq
Training Iraqi Soldiers On The Iran-Iraq Border
Waging Peace By Providing School Supplies In Iraq
Debriefing After Don Shelby Returns From Iraq
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.
Chaplains support Muslim Soldiers by finding common ground
Posted: 2017-04-18 01:42 PM
ROSEMOUNT, Minn. - The Soldiers of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division had a unique opportunity to speak with one of the U.S. Army's five Muslim chaplains April 7-10, 2017. U.S. Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Khallid Shabazz, I Corps deputy command chaplain, travelled from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Minnesota to provide professional development for the division chaplain section.
"Soldiers perform at a higher level when they are spiritually fit," said Minnesota National Guard Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Buddy Winn, the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division command chaplain. "And, it's our job as chaplains to make sure Soldiers have their spiritual needs met, regardless of faith. Having Chaplain Shabazz here as a Muslim Chaplain provides the diversity in religious background that we can't provide internally."
There are five major religions supported by the chaplaincy: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, but over 200 religions are recognized. Chaplains can only perform services for their particular religion, but they can provide support for all Soldiers, regardless of their faith.
Howling with pride - Minnesota Service members honored by MN Timberwolves
Posted: 2017-04-14 04:25 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - For the third consecutive year, Minnesota service members were honored with on-court recognition and other VIP treatments as part of the Minnesota Timberwolves Heroes of the Pack Program.
"We are very appreciative for what the military does for us, and we wanted to give something back to honor the military," said Roger McCabe, who along with wife, Nancy, is a driving force behind the recognitions through the FastBreak Foundation and Roger & Nancy McCabe Foundation. "This is our way of doing it."
Having lived through the Vietnam War - and with Roger and Nancy both having parents who served - the two philanthropists decided a few years back to build upon existing recognition efforts already underway by the Timberwolves. And with that, recognitions that were typically happening at Target Center in November expanded to include Minnesota Service members from all branches at every home game - a total of 41 honorees per season.
Red Bulls move vehicles for partnership exercises
Posted: 2017-04-12 03:22 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Soldiers of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division wrapped up a week-long rail load operation Sunday at Camp Ripley in preparation for several upcoming international training exercises.
Vehicle crewmen from the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry based in Moorhead, worked with railroad personnel from BNSF Railway to stage, load and secure their equipment in preparation for movement.
"It was a lot of work and lessons learned, but it was awesome seeing the completed product," said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Reiten, readiness non-commissioned officer for C Co., 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.