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Minnesota National Guard
Serving Our Troops

COB Basra " A taste of home was served up "Saint Paul" style, Dec 12, as members of the Minnesota-based "Serving Our Troops" organization catered to Soldiers at Contingency Operating Base (COB) Basra, Iraq, and Camp Buering, Kuwait, as well as family members who gathered at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St Paul, Minn, all connected via a live video link
          
Local chefs, who flew into Kuwait two days ago, grilled and served more than 6,500, quality, 12-ounce steaks " also delivered for the special meal " to members of the 34th Infantry Division More importantly, the occasion allowed everyone involved a chance to connect with family 6,000 miles away

"This was the highlight of my day," said Master Sgt Jeff Vaske, Roseville, Minn, 34th Inf Div, Senior Eng NCO

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Occasionally days can get redundant, said Sgt 1st Class Jeffry Taylor, Bryton, Minn, 34th Inf Div tactical command post "But, today was awesome," he said

The event entitled "Saint Paul to Iraq and Kuwait" is the seventh project for the non-profit group since 2004 they have served over 40,000 steaks in their history, but this was the largest staging yet

"Each mission is more complex and more expensive and we continue to reach out to businesses and the entire community for donations and support to make it happen," said Pat Harris, Saint Paul City Council member and organizational co-founder

"Serving Our Troops is a very special and unique way to give these families a chance to share a delicious meal together that happens to feature an amazing steak," he said

Normally catering to members of the Minnesota National Guard, Harris was proud to be at COB Basra where the 34th Infantry Division "Red Bulls," from Minnesota, are stationed while in command of Multi-National Division South Additionally, those involved savored the chance to feed Soldiers from outside of Minnesota who are stationed at COB Basra

"It's a point of Minnesota pride to be able to serve everyone," said Maj Gen, Richard Nash, commander of MND-S "They provided 5,500 steaks to Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airman, and civilians from all over"

The Serving Our Troops volunteers in Basra, who included local business owners, were joined by representatives of the Saint Paul Police Federation, the Minnesota Vikings, the golf event Tee It Up for the Troops, and "Superstar" Mike Morris from KFAN radio

The live video feed and the chance for service members to use Skype - a video conferencing software - to speak and be seen by loved ones were the highlights of the dining experience

Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Maj Gen Larry Shellito, Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General, were among the speakers who addressed the troops from Minnesota

At one point, a birthday cake appeared on the screen with lit candles and the words "Happy 22nd Birthday Spc Ramos" With much cheering from the crowd, Spc Michael Ramos, Stacy, Minn, an entry control point team member with the 34th Military Police Company, walked up to the screen and simulated blowing out the candles from the other side of the globe

He was then treated to a rousing performance of "Happy Birthday" from his fellow Soldiers

By SSG Chris Carney, 367th MPAD
Dec 14, 2009
Article source: http://www.theredbulls.org/article00503



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Camp Ripley strikes first before wildfire season

Posted: 2017-03-24  10:19 AM
Controlled burn CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Every spring Camp Ripley begins its annual controlled burn program to help reduce the risk of wildfire during training.

"Usually the burns are completed every spring before the summer annual training season begins," said Tim Notch, training area coordinator on Camp Ripley. "However, the warmer weather conditions provide a nice opportunity for preventative burns earlier this season."

As in years past Camp Ripley will conduct controlled burns on approximately 13,000 acres of the 53,000-acre military reservation. The burns are done in coordination with the staffs of the Camp Ripley Department of Public Works and the Camp Ripley Environmental Department along with support from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.



Minnesota Guardsman earns recognition through Leads 2 Enlistment program

Posted: 2017-03-23  09:46 AM
Pfc Trevor Nelson DULUTH, Minn. - Pfc. Trevor Nelson received the Minnesota Distinguished Recruiting Ribbon and a Minnesota Recruiting and Retention Battalion medallion for excellence from Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Serbus, March 18, 2017, at the Duluth Armory. Nelson earned these awards as part of the online referral system, Leads 2 Enlistment for referring four friends who have joined the Minnesota National Guard.

"I talked to some buddies in my school about the Guard. They liked the benefits, so I put their info in the app and let my recruiter take over." said Nelson. "I thought it would be fun to serve with friends and help them figure out their path in life."

Nelson is currently a senior at Cloquet Senior High School and assigned to the Recruit Sustainment Program in Duluth. He attended basic training at Fort Benning in the summer of 2016 with follow-on training in the summer of 2017 to become an infantryman.



Litchfield and Local Veteran Honor Gen. John Vessey at Armory Open House

Posted: 2017-03-10  08:50 AM
Vessey Bust LITCHFIELD, Minn. -Bruce Cottington, a Navy veteran of WWII and Korea, donated a bronze bust of Gen. John W. Vessey, Jr. to the Litchfield National Guard unit during the armory's public open house event March 4. Cottington, a Litchfield resident, commands the Minnesota Chapter of the Veterans of Underage Military Service. VUMS members enlisted in the military prior to the minimum age requirement in order to serve their country during WWII. Cottington received the bust from Vessey, a fellow VUMS member. Both enlisted in the military at the age of 16.

The highlight of the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion open house was the unveiling of the sculpture. The unit was very supportive when Cottington proposed donating the sculpture. The Litchfield community has always been very supportive of the National Guard over the years, so the open house was a chance to say 'thanks' to their neighbors. "This was a great opportunity to honor Bruce and to honor Gen. Vessey," said B Co., 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion Commander, Capt. Seth Goreham. Bravo Company also has a tight relationship with the local American Legion and VFW. Many Litchfield citizens are former members of Bravo Company, or the unit's predecessors A Co, 682nd Engineer Battalion, and the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company.



Camp Ripley welcomes new command sergeant major

Posted: 2017-03-08  03:29 PM
CSM Erickson CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The garrison command team of Camp Ripley, family, friends and colleagues from the Minnesota National Guard attended a Change of Responsibility ceremony between Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Worden and Command Sgt. Maj. Matt Erickson, March 5, 2017, at Camp Ripley.

The ceremony was an official "passing of the sword" from one senior noncommissioned officer to the next and assumption of the duties and responsibilities that go along with the position of Garrison Command Sergeant Major.

As with many military ceremonies those in attendance welcomed Erickson as a new member of the team and bid farewell, recognized and thanked Worden for his service.



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