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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Guard trains with Croatian partners

Thirty Minnesota Army National Guard (MNARNG) Soldiers from the 682nd Engineer Battalion are in Croatia participating in "˜GuardEx 10' from 26 April-7 May, 2010 The Minnesota Soldiers will train with the Croatian Guard Armored Mechanized Brigade for two weeks at training area GaÅ¡inci, which is 75 by 5km (46 miles by 31 miles) in size

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GuardEx is a bilateral exercise with a goal to train and enhance the interoperability of NATO PfP countries, while promoting bilateral cooperation and partnership between the Minnesota Army National Guard and the Croatian Armed Forces (CAF)

The training is broken down into two phases Phase I consist of live exercises that will familiarize the Soldiers with various weapons systems used by the CAF The weapons systems include: AK-47 assault rifle, H&K G36 assault rifle, PKT M84 machine gun and two systems that are unique to the CAF, the VHS-D assault rifle and the HS 2000 pistol

The training starts with an overview of each weapon system and then each Soldier practices disassembling and reassembling the weapon After they are familiarized with the weapon, the Soldiers proceed to the firing range where they have live fire and reflexive fire exercises

"Learning the different weapons is challenging, but fun The Croatians are very understanding and helpful," said Spc Chelsea Peterson

In Phase II, Soldiers of the MNARNG and CAF will execute scenario-driven battle drills in a field training exercise They will perform such exercises as isolated persons report, reacting to an ambush, close air support, personnel recovery and medical evacuation

Later this month, a group of Croatian soldiers will visit Minnesota and learn alongside MNARNG Soldiers during their annual training They will divide up the Croatian platoon and 2-3 soldiers will fall in with MNARNG squads Sgt. 1st Class Adam Honer will be one of the trainers at Camp Ripley when the CAF visits According to Honer, soldiers will be training together learning our weapons systems and TTP's

Although the Soldiers have a challenging time with the language barrier, all in all they've learned that the MNARNG is very similar to the CAF

"We all have similar tactics It only takes small tweaks to fight as a team," Honer stated

By Sgt Dajon Schafer
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
4 May, 2010

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