| Building Legacy
COB Basra " Soldiers attended a series of dedication ceremonies at several prominent buildings at Contingency Operating Base Basra, Dec 31 to commemorate the achievements and sacrifices of five 34th Infantry Division Soldiers
Speakers recounted the lives and accomplishments of the Soldiers and unveiled special plaques at the headquarters building, the band hall, the combined gym and USO, the troop medical clinic and the Post Exchange
The first ceremony was held at the headquarters building and began with the singing of the national anthem by Sgt Jennifer MacDonald, of the 34th Inf Div Band
Maj Gen Richard Nash, 34th Inf Div commander, spoke at the dedication of the headquarters building that was renamed "The General John W Vessey Headquarters Building"
The retired Vessey served with the 34th Inf Div " also known as the "Red Bulls" " in World War II and is a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Nash also spoke regarding four fallen Soldiers
"From this day forward," he said, "As you enter the "˜Major Steven Hutchison Memorial Band Hall, the Specialist Daniel P Drevnick Memorial Gym and USO, the Specialist Carlos E Wilcox Memorial Troop Medical Clinic, or the Specialist James D Wertish Memorial Post Exchange " remember with gratitude those who gave their last full measure of devotion to a cause much greater than themselves"
The Division flag was folded to be presented to Vessey upon the "Red Bull's" return to their home state of Minnesota
The final three ceremonies, in honor of Drevnick, Wilcox, and Wertish drew a large crowd from the fallen Soldiers' own 34th Military Police Co
Robert McGrane, of Spring Valley, Wis, who works law and order with 1st platoon, 34th MPs said he was glad his friends were being recognized during the ceremonies
"It means a lot, not just to me, but my whole platoon," he said, "It means these guys are getting honored " their memory's going to be there throughout the whole deployment for other Soldiers who are here"
Spc Brandon Hempel, of Spring Grove, Minn, a driver and gunner with the 34th MP Co, agreed
"It shows that everyone here really did care about what happened that night," he said "A lot of it just shows respect," he said
During the ceremony at the USO and gym, Soldiers nodded their heads in agreement when Drevnick's "lighthearted" nature was remarked on
The TMC was dedicated to Wilcox, a medic, for his commitment to improving his medical knowledge, which Hempel said was accurate
"Wilcox always had books," he said, "Any time we were in the truck he'd throw out medical things, and we'd say, "˜What?'"
The PX, a source of many Soldiers' sports equipment purchases, reflected Wertish's inclinations toward spending much time outside
During the ceremony there, a story was told about Wertish breaking his collar bone while riding on a snow mobile right before his deployment to Iraq
His leaders commented on how his sense of duty showed in his concerned and apologetic response to the accident
Finding a way to commemorate Soldiers is very important, said Hempel
"I don't want their memory to go unknown," he said, "The PX was named after Spc Wertish, TMC after Spc Wilcox, and the USO after Drevnick, [and] it shows that they were here, something happened, their memory's not forgotten, it's with us"
The three MPs were killed by a rocket attack on COB Basra on July 16, 2009
Hutchison was killed in action in Basrah, May 10, 2009
With the new year often being a time of reflection for many, McGrane said he will be thinking back on his friends
"We're going to miss you guys," he said, "You'll never be forgotten; you'll always be in our hearts"
By Spc Samuel Soza, 367th MPAD
1 Jan, 2010
Article source: http://www.theredbulls.org/article00547
Officers convene for 112th Meeting of the National Guard Association of Minnesota
Posted: 2017-04-28 12:38 PM
MANKATO, Minn. - Commissioned leaders of the Minnesota National Guard convened for the 112th General Conference of the National Guard Association of Minnesota at the Verizon Wireless Center and Hilton Garden Inn, Mankato, on April 22, 2017.
The annual gathering of association members - who serve as advocates for the needs of Soldiers, Airmen and their families - includes a business meeting, commanders march, formal dining event and transfer of responsibility to the chapter's new president.
The day's event began with a business meeting, which focused on the association's mission of educating and informing legislators on the issues facing the current and future role of the National Guard in serving Minnesota communities. The strategic planning meeting was attended by Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, his staff and unit commanders.
Camp Ripley earns top environmental award
Posted: 2017-04-26 02:09 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Department of Defense announced that Camp Ripley was selected as the winner of the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation.
The awards recognize individuals, teams and installations for their exceptional environmental achievements and innovative, cost-effective environmental practices.
"The winners' efforts strengthen the Department of Defense's position as a resourceful environmental steward, both at home and abroad, and demonstrate our continued commitment to fulfilling mission needs through advanced environmental practices and technologies," stated James A. MacStravic, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
Minnesota Guardsman finds work with victims in the military and the local community rewarding
Posted: 2017-04-26 10:57 AM
COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Nicquie Neely has been working with victims of sexual assault for four years in the Minnesota National Guard and also volunteers as a victim advocate in the community. As a victim advocate, it's her job to believe and support victims through a difficult process that can often involve extensive medical care and legal proceedings.
"Ever since I joined the Guard and heard about the SHARP program and learned what a victim advocate was, I always wanted to be one," said Neely. "And then I learned that you had to be an E-6 to be in that position, so the minute I got promoted I asked my commander if I could go to the training."
Neely is a combat medic and the full-time training and administration NCO with Company C, 134th Brigade Support Battalion. In addition to military victim advocate training, Neely also attends regular training with the civilian organization she volunteers for - SOS Sexual Violence Services in Ramsey County.
Minnesota National Guard Remembers the Holocaust with Jewish Community Relations Council
Posted: 2017-04-24 10:43 AM
Washington - Members of the Minnesota National Guard and the Air Force Reserve traveled to Washington D.C. with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (also known as the JCRC), to visit the Holocaust Museum, April 4, 2017, to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Also, traveling with this group were St. Paul and Minneapolis police officers along with students from various high schools around the state. For those in uniform that day, it was an opportunity to see, hear and experience the stories of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
Each Service member who attended was asked to bring back a summary of their experience in the form of a presentation, professional discussion or briefing to their respective unit in order to help other Guard members better understand and remember that horrible event, to honor the courage of the victims and survivors, and to remain vigilant as members of the U.S. military.
"The honor and privilege of accompanying members of the Minnesota National Guard to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. met so many goals," said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the JCRC. "I wanted to reinforce the importance of the commitment of the U.S. military to democracy. After all, it was the Allies that defeated Nazi Germany and ultimately put an end to the Holocaust."