| 34th DISCOM deactivated and 347th Support Group activated
ROSEVILLE, Mn.- The end of one era marked the beginning of another era when a dual ceremony deactivating the 34th DISCOM was combined with an activation ceremony for the 347th Support Group Dec. 2 at the Roseville Training and Community Center.
Maj. Gen. Rick Erlandson, 34th Infantry Division Commander, charged the 347th Support Group to continue the rich lineage of the 34th DISCOM.
"This is a time for reflection for the accomplishments of the 34th DISCOM and also a time of celebration for a newly formed organization, the 347th Support Group," Erlandson told an audience of several hundred.
Erlandson said that while change is challenging, the Minnesota Guard can be proud that the 34th Infantry Division and its supporting units have been the first to transform under the Army transformation plan for National Guard units.
The 34th DISCOM was organized on Feb. 22, 1959. It was reorganized and redesignated several times over its history and has had numerous subordinate units that have been part of the command structure.
During the ceremony, the 34th DISCOM flag was sheathed by outgoing Col. Charles Parins and outgoing Command Sgt. Maj. John McNamara while the new flag of the 347th Support Group was unfurled by incoming commander Col. Shawn Kempenich and incoming Command Sgt. Maj. John Sands.
"My vision for the Support Group is that we are a highly disciplined, standards-based, physically fit, combat-focused team ready to conduct combat operations and Joint Force Headquarters Force Protection," Sand said.
"I will lead by example in all these areas. I demand leaders at all levels do the same," Sands added.
During the ceremony, red roses were presented to Mrs. Peggy Parins and Mrs. Sue McNamara while yellow roses were presented to Mrs. Joan Kempenich and Mrs. Tammy Sand.
By Master Sgt. Edwin Holt, Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Guard leaders inducted into Court of Honor
Posted: 2015-10-07 11:02 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Seven retired members of the Minnesota National Guard were recognized before their fellow service members as they were inducted into the Court of Honor, Oct. 4, 2015, at Camp Ripley.
"It is our pleasure to have the opportunity to recognize these select leaders who have served our communities, state and nation with distinction," said Col. John Kolb, chief of staff for Joint Force Headquarters.
The Memorialization Board selects individuals for their service to the Minnesota National Guard as well as continued service to their communities. The board reviews the nominations received and forwards their recommendations to the Minnesota Adjutant General for approval. These inductees join the names of more than 300 others, since 1933, who have demonstrated their unwavering dedication, loyalty and distinguished service to the Minnesota National Guard.
Willmar National Guard Unit Set To Deploy
Posted: 2015-10-05 11:04 AM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2015
More than 150 Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard's Willmar-based 682nd Engineer Battalion will deploy for an eleven-month mobilization in support of Operation Spartan Shield.
"The deploying Soldiers of the 682nd Engineer Battalion are eager to begin the deployment to Kuwait. This will be the first deployment for two-thirds of the unit, they are ready to create their own deployment experience," said Lt. Col. Keith Ferdon, battalion commander.
"Our battalion will be part of Task Force Wild in Kuwait. As a Minnesota hockey fan that is pretty cool. Our battalion has the mission of managing engineer sustainment operations throughout the Middle East, meaning we manage road and building infrastructure maintenance for coalition forces," said Ferdon.
Minnesota combat medic training center named for famous WWII nurse
Posted: 2015-10-05 09:26 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard on Sunday dedicated its new combat medical training center in honor of Brainerd-native and famous WWII nurse Hortense McKay. She is the first female soldier to have a building named for her at Camp Ripley.
The Medical Simulation Training Center, which opened in May of 2014, specializes in training soldiers how to treat wartime wounded. It caters both to soldiers whose main role is being a combat medic (called "68Ws" in Army parlance) and to regular frontline soldiers looking to learn rudimentary lifesaving skills. Eventually, staff hope to train 2,500 people a year in the art of repairing bodies broken by combat.
Like the rest of Camp Ripley, the MSTC puts soldiers through the most stressful testing simulation possible. Strobe lights and loudspeakers recreate the distracting stimuli of combat, and the mannequins soldiers operate on display gruesome wounds that spew blood.
Last 133rd Airlift Wing Vietnam-Era Veteran Retires
Posted: 2015-09-30 01:56 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - Master Sgt. Michael Stephen Phillips, the last Vietnam-era veteran to actively serve in the 133rd Airlift Wing, was honored for his 35 years of service at a retirement ceremony at the 133rd's dining facility, Aug. 23, 2015.
An 18-year-old Phillips first joined the active-duty Air Force on Sep. 18, 1973, as a security police specialist and was stationed at the 148th Fighter Wing (when it was still an active duty base) in Duluth. Following a seven-year break in service after his initial four-year enlistment ended, Phillips' wife saw an ad on television for a special program in the National Guard, prompting his return to service.
"Back then they had what was called the Try-1 program for prior active duty members to join the Guard. It allowed you to sign up for a year and see if you liked it," said Phillips. "If it didn't work out, you could get out, and if it did ... well, I ended up staying for another 31 years!"