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Minnesota National Guard
Viking pride thunders in the Middle-East

Basra, Iraq - As Minnesota Vikings back home were finishing lunch and readying for the game against the Detroit Lions, Soldiers of the 34th Infantry Division (34th ID) here were finishing their dinner and preparing to watch the live game
               
The Minnesota Vikings Viewing Party at Contingency Operating Base Basra brought 34th ID Soldiers a bit of home with a tailgating atmosphere complete with grilled food and pounding music
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Sgt Melissa Mensen, of Alexandria, Minn, 34th Military Police Company quick reaction force, wore a pink jersey in support of her team and family
               
"My mom's a big fan," she said
               
Throughout the night, Soldiers cheered their team and moments later saw themselves on the Jumbotron - the Metrodome stadium big screen- in Minneapolis
               
"I have a ten and nine year old," said Chief Warrant Officer Trygve Skaar, commander of the 34th ID Band "I would love to think they would get a glimpse of me"
               
"It's fun to think that might happen," said the Rosemount, Minn native
               
The 34th ID band had the honor of playing the national anthem from Iraq for the game and Capt Dustin Snare, of Plymouth, Minn, battle captain for the 34th ID operations section, blew the traditional Minnesota Viking's Gjallarhorn, a Nordic war horn, to kick off the game
               
The band was proud to represent the military, Skaar said
               
"Wherever we can bring people together to honor our nation, especially in this unique setting, is an awesome experience," he said
               
Throughout the night, the satellite feed that carried the game across the globe to Iraq would hang up occasionally; freezing mid-tackle or stopping the receiver in midair, but the cheering of the Soldiers never faltered
               
At halftime, Command Sgt Maj Doug Wortham, 34th ID Special Troops Battalion, had the opportunity to speak to his family on the field
               
The Elko, Minn native asked his son about his long hair and musical pursuits, his daughter about her belated search for the right college, and his wife about what housework he would see on his "honey-do list" when he arrived home
               
In the end, the Vikings defeated the Lions 27-10, a victory truly felt around the world

By Spc Samuel Soza
Multi-National Division " South
15 Nov 2009


Article source: http://www.theredbulls.org/article00448



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Beyond NATO Commitments, MN State Partnership with Croatia Continues to Grow

Posted: 2017-06-22  10:25 AM
Saber Strike SPP PABRADE, Lithuania - Since 1996, the Minnesota National Guard and the Croatian Armed Forces have been partners in the National Guard's State Partnership Program. Beyond the bond of the NATO commitment, a mutual trust and unique bond has been forged amongst the warriors of each respective nation. From Camp Ripley to Karlovac, the soldiers have found a common cause of continuous improvement. Exercise after exercise, there has been a greater appreciation of one another's culture and customs.

You don't have to look to far to see this dynamic. When asked if he had ever worked with Minnesota National Guardsmen before, 1Lt Emanuel Hamer of the Croatian Armed Forces said, "This is my fourth time working with 2-136 "Bearcats," each time we grow closer and stronger. I feel like they are members of my unit. I'm glad I have this opportunity to learn new techniques and share some of our own with the Americans."



7 Nations, 4 Branches, 1 Mission; Saber Strike '17

Posted: 2017-06-20  02:14 PM
Saber Strike 17 PABRADE, Lithuania - As the sun begins to set on the Lithuanian countryside, the final touches are put on the camouflage netting designed to break the silhouette and conceal the position of the Tactical Action Center, or TAC, of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division on June 17, 2017. As part of the multinational exercise of Saber Strike '17, the 1/34th ABCT is providing support to the Air Assault Task Force Commander, Col. Charles Kemper.

As the first ever combined air and ground assault in the annual Saber Strike exercise, this year's exercise has set a milestone in testing the compatibility of seven nations and all military branches.

"We want to reassure all of our NATO Allies that we are in this together," said Kemper. "We're part of the team and we can demonstrate capability."



Minnesota Aviators complete successful eXportable Combat Training Capability exercise

Posted: 2017-06-20  08:30 AM
XCTC FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard's 2-147th Assault Helicopter Battalion wrapped up support for an eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) exercise at Fort Hood, Texas, recently. The unit was part of Task Force Ragnar, the exercise's aviation element, supporting the Tennessee National Guard's 278th Armored Calvary Regiment as they prepare for a rotation to the National Training Center in 2018.

"Our mission is to support a brigade element here," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 John Otremba, with the 2-147. "But I think our ultimate mission is to train for an austere environment which sets us up for success at NTC next year."

The task force conducted aviation support missions including air assault, sling load, deliberate attack, defensive positioning and key leader escorts. They also conducted aviation-specific training in personnel recovery, downed aircraft recovery, field maintenance and air traffic control operations.



CERFP exercise tests Guardsmen, new evaluation team

Posted: 2017-06-08  01:42 PM
evaluators DULUTH, Minn. - Minnesota National Guard members serving in a variety of roles tested their skills as evaluators and domestic response assets during a Combined Training Exercise simulating a chemical explosion in the harbors of Duluth from June 3 to June 9, 2017.

The exercise was the first time in nearly four years that the specialized 55th Civil Support Team - which would respond to a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) threat before any other Minnesota National Guard unit - worked in conjunction with the 84th Troop Command's CBRN Enhanced Response Force Package. In practice, the CST would provide the initial response and hand the mission off to the CERFP, which is capable of mass decontamination and casualty support as well search and recovery expertise in the event of collapsed or damaged structures.

And as crews of CERFP Soldiers donned protective gear, established decontamination lanes and prepared for swells of simulated victims seeking medical attention, a few select Soldiers quietly observed it all.



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