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Minnesota National Guard
Iraq to Everest: Red Bull medic aims for Earth's highest peak

BASRA, IRAQ - There comes a certain time in the twilight of every Soldier's deployment when it becomes time to begin dreaming about post-deployment plans

Staff Sgt Meghan Markson, 34th Red Bull Infantry Division Force Protection Manager, plans to remodel the St Paul, Minn home she and her husband share

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First Lt Jessica Westendorf, 34th Inf Div Sustainment Operations Officer from Little Falls, Minn, plans to take a Caribbean vacation in St Lucia

Staff Sgt Daniel Bari plans to climb mountains

Of course, Bari, currently deployed to Contingency Operating Base Basra, intends to start small and work his way up: first a lowly hill, say like Pike's Peak in Colorado, then a little knoll, like Mount McKinley in Alaska, and then finally, his ultimate goal: Mount Everest in Nepal

Bari, who has "always enjoyed doing stuff outdoors," said he found this calling in the woods of northern Minnesota last fall

"I started rock climbing up in Duluth in the summer and fall of 2008," said the St Louis Park, Minn native, "and really, I instantly fell in love with rock climbing"

Trips across the Appalachian Trail followed, and Bari, a medic with the 34th Inf Div, found himself falling in love with the art of the trudge

"I really enjoyed the terrain, the angles that you take going up and down hills, especially wearing a pack," said Bari, who wondered if it was an Army thing "It was a lot of enjoyment, just getting outside, kind of free out there"

Bari and his friends began to talk about taking a rock-climbing trip, but a different kind of challenge interrupted Bari's plans: a deployment to Iraq

Bari's pre-deployment training brought him to Fort Lewis, Wash, where the looming, white specter of Mount Rainier sat teasingly on the horizon

"The first time I saw Mount Rainier, I had that instant when I was like, 'wow, I'd really like to see what it's like on top of that thing,'" Bari said

While at Fort Lewis, Bari immersed himself in books on mountaineering and its myriad dangers: frigid cold, glaciers, crevasses, high altitude sickness and falling It wasn't until Bari's four-day pass that he was able to actually climb the mountain - and because of inclement weather, he was only able to reach 8,000 feet Nevertheless, his will was undeterred

There was some times during the two months we were at Fort Lewis when I thought, 'well, I wonder if I start getting up there - it'll be cold and the oxygen is a little bit less and maybe I have no idea what I'm getting myself into, and I'll hate it - and I'll change my mind,'" Bari said "But that didn't happen I knew that the more I was climbing the more I enjoyed it"

His appetite whetted, Bari continued training in Iraq, where he compensated for southern Iraq's relative flatness by running voraciously, sometimes eclipsing 35-45 miles a week

"Your leg strength: that's the power that's going to get you up the mountain," he said

Once his deployment ends, Bari said he plans to take his legs and shimmy up Pike's Peak, which tops off near 14,115 feet The route to the top of Pike's Peak is a simple path, a well-trod trail that requires maybe a day's hike The peak mostly serves as a way to acclimatize to high altitudes, in addition to its role as a warm-up for Mount Whitney in California

After Mount Whitney, Bari said he plans to finish off Mount McKinley, where he can gain experience working with ropes and ice and glaciers in the summer of 2011

"After Rainier, the next big step is going to Denali National Park and climbing Mount McKinley," said Bari "It's about 20,000 feet and it's in Alaska, so it's significantly colder and it's significantly higher So that will be the last major training piece before making an attempt at Everest"

Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world at 29,029 feet, has long allured the brave and bold Ever since Sir Edmund Hillary first scaled its craggy summit in 1953, over 2700 adventurers have crawled their way up the peak locals call "Chomolungma," or Saint Mother The mountain is so high, and the trail is so long, that to climb straight through is both foolhardy and dangerous

"You don't start right at the base camp and go straight to the top," Bari explained "You go up a little bit, set up a camp and get used to that elevation, and every so often, you actually go back down, basically to recover a little bit, and you then do that progressively up [the mountain]

"I think it's worth noting the highest point in the lower 48 is well under 15,000 feet The base camp for Mount Everest is over 17,000 feet

So the highest point that I could do any training, without going to Alaska, in the United States, is in California, and even at the very highest point, I'm still well short of even the base camp of Everest," he said "So that really gets me some perspective: What is all my training for? Getting me below the bottom"

While Bari has "absolutely zero experience mountain climbing," he didn't really have any serious running experience before his first marathon, either In fact, Bari originally hated running, but as he trained, he grew to love running, and "it kinda grew from there," said Bari

Since then, Bari has "kinda lost track" of how many marathons he has run, although he estimates the total to be somewhere close to 20

Bari hopes that his mountain climbing plans blossom similarly He has already contacted several companies, and he said that as a staff sergeant in the US Army, it's simply a matter of saving money, staying fit and hoping for good weather

And while there are many things Bari cannot control over the next two years, his plan, at least, appears to be rock-solid: start at the bottom, and through hard work and effort and sweat, climb your way to the top

By Pvt 1st Class J Princeville Lawrence
34th Red Bull Infantry Division Public Affairs
25 Dec 2009


Article source: http://www.theredbulls.org/article00531



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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.



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