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Minnesota National Guard
British Soldier experiences Minnesota Guard

Camp Ripley, Minn – Armed conflicts, throughout the centuries, has brought together like-minded militaries to serve toward a greater cause Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have brought together many nations to fight against the threat of terror abroad

With this new era of continued cooperation, the Minnesota National Guard and the United Kingdom’s Territorial Army (TA) has seen fit to create an annual Soldier exchange with in an effort to have allies learn from each other by allowing Soldiers to train with their allied counterparts

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Corporal Andrew Perry, Mission Planning Specialist, was given the opportunity to come to Minnesota to participate in the American end of the deal

Perry was part of a similar exchange with another National Guard unit years prior His most recent trip was less formal and more of a chance to learn about our unit

After arriving in Washington, DC, Perry was flown to Minnesota and brought to Camp Ripley to train with the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade during their 2 week annual training period

Perry was very pleased with the reception he received “I really felt the ‘Minnesota Nice,’ ” he explained While this may have been an opportunity to simply observe, Perry participated as if he was a member of the brigade

While here, Perry was able to sample several aspects of our military, including MEDEVAC hoist training, riding in an M1 Abrams tank, firing crew served weapons, such as the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, and even performing an Army Physical Fitness Test “My favorite thing was getting to be hoisted on the jungle penetrator,” explained Perry

Staff Sgt Jeremy Reem, Perry’s American “battle-buddy,” also did the training “Escorting Corporal Perry I got to do a lot of things I wouldn’t normally do” explained Reem “It was a lot of fun” 

Back in England, the TA is similar to our military Reserve, augmenting the active duty while in the theater of operation Perry is a member of an English aviation unit near York, England The national unit supports an AH-64 Apache unit

The active duty side of the United Kingdom has only 110,000 Soldiers, with 34,000 additional members of the TA, explained Perry Unlike the National Guard, which is usually mobilized as a full unit for combat operations, members of the TA are mobilized as individual augmentees

Sgt Nicholas Olson
34th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs
22 July, 2010


 





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