/*********************************************** * 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 ***********************************************/
History
Minnesota National Guard
Sweet people packing sweet cookies

BASRA, IRAQ - Mention "Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar" around a native Minnesotan in Iraq, and you're almost guaranteed a glazed-eyed expression and rambling murmurs of longing Say "10,000 cookies" right after, and you might need to find them a chair

Yet, that's the number of cookies volunteers from several charitable and patriotic organizations - and many Sweet Martha's employees - gathered Dec 19 to pack-up and send to troops deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom with the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Infantry Division

As part of the event, Soldiers at Contingency Operating Base Basra hopped on Skype and got a chance to ogle the buckets as they were being prepared

Volunteers from all over participated on the Minnesota side; Cadets from St Thomas Academy, Mendota Heights, Minn, where the event was held, pitched in and even added notes to each package for the Soldiers

Download photos
Members of the Minnesota Patriot Guard, the Minnesota-based arm of the Patriot Guard Riders who attend funerals of service members, shared table space with Blue Star Moms, a service organization of military mothers They were joined by local members of the Vietnams Veterans Association and local exchange clubs

Even Minnesota Timberwolves board member Bill Popp showed up to support the troops and say a few words over Skype

Spc LaFena Washington, 34th Inf Div Human Resources Specialist from Minnetonka, Minn, said she was especially touched by the singing and guitar playing of Joshua Revak, himself a veteran of recent conflicts

Revak serenaded several of the Soldiers over Skype, and spent a considerable amount of time at the Skype terminal chatting with and singing to them

It was the first time Washington had ever used Skype, she said, and that Saturday night, if not for a friend encouraging her to come participate, would have otherwise been a movie and popcorn night

"I'm so glad I did this," she said after passing the headset on to the next Soldier "It was worth missing movie night"

"The fact they had a veteran playing for us really stood out," she said, "and that people took time out to come over and talk to us I was really impressed"

Staff Sgt Paul Gudding, 34th Inf Div Personnel Noncommissioned Officer, followed Washington

"It was just nice to see that a bunch of people got on," said the Moorhead, Minn native "It was a little hometown experience"

Brad Walton, Event Organizer, said the event carried on a tradition started in 2006 when a Marine returning soon to Iraq called in to WCCO, Minneapolis radio show  When Walton asked him what he could do to help the troops, the Marine simply replied, "Chocolate chip cookies"

Walton immediately thought of Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar, and owner Martha Rossini-Olson jumped at the idea, Walton said

That first batch saw 10,000 cookies heading out to the troops, and now another 10,000 are shipping overseas

"About a month ago as I thought of you and the Red Bulls and all the troops, I reflected back to 2006 and the cookies for the troops," Walton wrote in an email to Chaplain (Lt Col) John Morris, 34th Inf Div Chaplain, in early December  "I called Martha Rossini of Sweet Martha fame and asked her if she was once again up for doing what we did with the Blue Star Moms and all back in 2006"

Of course, her enthusiasm for the idea was as great in 2009 as in 2006

They would even throw in an added bonus, Walton noted in the e-mail: milk  Gudding was happy at the idea of the milk when volunteers showed it off to him over Skype

"It'll be nice to have some real milk," he said

In the end, it comes down to basic gratitude, on both ends

"We are all so indebted to all of you for your service," Walton, said, with Rossini-Olson nodding agreement next to him  "It's just our way of saying thank you"

On the other end, once those cookies have reached the troops, the volunteers and organizers are sure to have that thank you returned to them, perhaps not 10,000 times in word, but certainly in 10,000 moments of enjoyment    

By Sgt Benjamin R Kibbey
Dec 24, 2009

Article source: http://www.theredbulls.org/article00529



Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

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.



Article archive
 
top