| 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
Camp Ripley strikes first before wildfire season
Posted: 2017-03-24 10:19 AM
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
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
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
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.