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Minnesota National Guard
1st Battalion, 151st Field Artillery reintegrates

The Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 151st Field Artillery completed their ninety day event the weekend of August 6-8, 2010.

The ninety day event is part of an overall reintegration plan known as Beyond the Yellow Ribbon.  The event brings Soldiers together for three days to do a final check on several aspects of their post deployment life.

Some of the key events for the Soldiers during the event include an OCIE showdown where the Soldier does a complete inventory of the gear that the Army has issued to them, a Post Deployment Health Assessment where specialists give the Soldier the ability to receive a medical referral to outside agencies if they need it, a records review to ensure that the Soldier has received credit for schools and awards, a chance for officers and non-commissioned officers to close out their evaluation reports and several required briefs for the Soldiers.
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The unit, which covers much of southwestern Minnesota, returned from their deployment this spring.  They were based at Camp Buehring, Kuwait and provided convoy security escorts throughout Iraq.

Typically the ninety day event is held at Camp Ripley but Lt. Col. St Sauver, Battalion Commander, requested that this event be held in southwestern Minnesota at the armories of the units because additional events that would be taking place during their event.  The unit wanted to make their welcome home ceremony something special for the Soldiers and the tremendous community that showed them more support than they could have ever expected.

The ceremony they held was like none other.  With special guests Governor Tim Pawlenty, First Lady of Minnesota Mary Pawlenty, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Congressman Collin Peterson, Maj. Gen. Larry Shellito and State Command Sgt Maj Edward "Scott"� Mills in attendance the unit made a special entrance.  Lt. Col. St Sauver and Command Sgt Maj Erik Arne popped out of the top hatches of two HMMWVs that flanked the stage and introduced each of the batteries and their command teams that ran onto the field.  St Sauver then walked to the front of the stage after all the batteries were in position and reported to the Governor "Sir, the Battalion is formed and ready for its next challenge"

The ceremony continued with a video that recapped the deployment, followed by speeches from several of the special guests.  Each congratulated the battalion on their successful deployment and thanked the Soldiers and families for their service and dedication to their State and Nation.

Following the speeches the unit's leadership including the in-coming Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Lowell Kruse took positions in-front of the stage to conduct the historic passing of the Regimental Colors.  The passing of the Colors is a time honored tradition which signifies the passing of command from one commander to the next.  The units command sgt maj passes the flag to the current command, who then passes it to the units higher commander, which signifying his release of authority over the unit, the commander then passes the flag to the in-coming battalion commander signifying the trust and authority being given to the commander.  The ceremony is always conducted in-front of the Soldiers so they may be witnesses to the trust and authority being vested in their new commander.

The unit hosted a barbeque and welcomed the Johnny Holmes Band that evening following the ceremony.  The barbecue and concert were a way of celebrating their success and to thank the community for their support throughout the deployment

"I wanted to make it a celebration as my way of saying thanks to the Soldiers and the community.  They were all great over my tenure as the commander here and it is a bitter sweet good-bye," said Lt. Col. St Sauver.

The ninety day event really marks the culmination of the deployment for the unit and following this event Soldiers will be free to move to new units and the unit will go back to traditional drills.

Photos and story by 1st Lt Kenneth R Toole
Camp Ripley Public Affairs
August 8, 2010

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