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Minnesota National Guard
Aviators are Minnesota Guard Quick Reaction Force

There is a new Quick Reaction Force in town Alpha Company, 834th Aviation Support Battalion (ASB) has taken over the responsibility to provide immediate security and crowd control support to the Governor of Minnesota This aviation company, having recently finished their reintegration training after a tour in Iraq, were selected to replace the existing metro-area Quick Reaction Force (QRF)

Alpha Company was officially validated as the QRF in January when the Soldiers and their commanders had their responses tested in various scenarios This is the first time a non-infantry unit has been selected as a QRF in the Minnesota National Guard "The QRF is a big responsibility," said 1st Lt Bryan Peterson, the QRF Officer In Charge "A Co had a wide variety of responsibilities during the deployment That's probably one reason we were chosen for this high profile mission Initially we were unsure about this mission, but each training session we improved dramatically The Soldiers did not give up The Soldiers rocked it!"
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Typical of Army training, the Soldiers began with the basics "Like anything else it was crawl, walk, run "¦" explained Staff Sgt Patrick Rock, one of the QRF squad leaders "A small group of us were trained up on tactics and we trained the company We started with PowerPoint briefings, then got some hands-on with the equipment We learned striking tactics and how to employ shields"

After this initial internal training the 834 ASB demonstrated advanced civil support skills for the aviation brigade headquarters The training was a State Active Duty Exercise with a realistic training scenario based on the potential of the Democratic National Convention coming to the capitol in 2012

In the scenario the capitol police requested National Guard support for security, crowd control and protestor intervention at a political rally event on simulated capitol grounds Over 100 Soldiers in civilian clothes were utilized as rioters, media members, and politicians "The protestors understood they had to take the intensity to a certain level regardless of their personal politics," remarked Col Michael Huddleston, 34th Combat Aviation Brigade Commander who stood in as the Governor of Minnesota for the demonstration

"The training was very good," remarked Huddleston, "but there is always room for growth More realistic training should include how to use hand cuffs and how to fill a breach The Soldier/protestors in civilian clothes were particularly effective"

By Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Ewer
34th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs
22 July, 2010

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