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Minnesota National Guard
Guard Exchange with Croatia capped by demos for VIPs

The sixth annual Guard Exchange (GUARDEX) with the Croatian Armed Forces culminated in demonstrations for foreign dignitaries The two-week exercise in Gašinci, Croatia came to an end May 6 with a visit from Minnesota State Adjutant General Larry Shellito Along with Maj. Gen. Shellito, there were many other distinguished visitors from fifteen countries

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After welcoming Shellito, the visitors were led out to the first training station, where Soldiers demonstrated reflexive shooting on the firing range and clearing rooms in the shoot house

There was also a demonstration of the personal weapon simulator, where a video plays various scenarios that Soldiers must react to in a timely manner A computer records their response times and accuracy, so that Soldiers can improve their reflexive firing skills

Along with the exercises at the training station, visitors were also given a presentation of the VHS-D assault rifle, a weapon that is unique to the Croatian Armed Forces

The second GUARDEX training station showcased Soldiers executing personnel recovery while reacting to an ambush and involving close air support and medical evacuation The visitors were able to watch through binoculars as the convoy was attacked and a helicopter emerged from the sky to pick up the injured Soldier

Shellito, along with over fifty other distinguished visitors from all over the world, were able to see the joint effort and hard work of both the Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers, as well as the Croatian Armed Forces soldiers After completion of the exercise, Shellito presented Soldiers with coins and thanked them for their work

"Over the years, we have seen steady improvement and the ripple effect, internationally, can be seen," Shellito stated, "Whether you believe it or not, you're ambassadors of the US"

Thirty Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers will return home after participating in GUARDEX Croatian Armed Forces soldiers arrive in Minnesota soon and will be spending the next two weeks training with Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers at Camp Ripley

Photos and story by Sgt Dajon Schafer
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
7 May, 2010

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