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Minnesota National Guard
Annual Training brings new challenges to 1st BCT

The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division (1/34th BCT), currently scheduled to begin a one year deployment in the summer of 2011, is undergoing intense Annual Training this month at Camp Ripley, Minnesota

Battalions of the 1/34th BCT began rotating through Camp Ripley July 31 and will continue until September 2

Every year Annual Training encompasses everything from common soldier tasks, such as firing your assigned weapon, to more specialized tasks, such as combat medic training

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"The soldiers of the BCT were exposed to all the tasks necessary for success in a counter-insurgency environment," said Col Eric Kerska, commander of the 1/34th BCT "They grew as small teams and now know exactly what to work on over the coming year"

This year however, brought something more The brigade developed a training plan to include participating in the Army National Guard Exportable Combat Training Capability, or XCTC

As part of the ever-changing overseas contingency operations, XCTC brings the most up-to-date, theater-specific training to mobilizing Army National Guard units

XCTC provides total immersion training Soldiers are surrounded by the look, smell, sound, and feel of their projected combat tour As part of this immersion, Soldiers interact with role-players consisting of Americans and foreign nationals to make the exercise as real as possible

"I could not be happier with the training provided by XCTC," said Kerska " XCTC is absolutely the finest pre-mob training ever offered to this brigade"

With the help of this new tool, the 1/34th BCT will be able to not just meet, but exceed, prior training expectations and standards put in place by the Army

By Maj Paul Rickert, 1/34 BCT Public Affairs Officer
10 Aug, 2010

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Operation Future Warrior, rain or shine

Posted: 2017-05-24  01:12 PM
Operation Future Warrior More than 900 recruits from the Minnesota National Guard came to Camp Ripley Friday through Sunday for Operation Future Warrior.

Young men and women who volunteered to join the Minnesota Army National Guard got to experience a small taste of basic training and military training during the three-day event.

"The intent of Operation Future Warrior is removing the mystery of the training recruits will experience when attending Basic Combat and Advance Individualized Training," said Lt. Col. Eduardo Suarez, recruiting and retention battalion commander.



St. Paul-based Combat Aviation Brigade welcomes new senior enlisted leader

Posted: 2017-05-23  08:03 AM
Hellkamp ARDEN HILLS, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade welcomed a new senior enlisted leader during a change of responsibility ceremony, May 21, 2017, at the Arden Hills Army Training Site.

Command Sgt. Maj. Mitchell Hellkamp assumed duties as the unit's senior noncommissioned officer (NCO) from Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Cunnien, who served in the position for the past two years and will be retiring from the military later this year.

"Command Sgt. Maj. Cunnien is one of the finest leaders that I have worked with in my career," said Col. Shawn Manke, commander of the 34th CAB. "He sets the example for all noncommissioned officers and Soldiers to emulate. He is a true professional, as a visible leader and teacher for the Soldiers of the combat aviation brigade. We're grateful for his many years of service, and we wish him well as he closes out his military career and enters the next chapter in his life."



Families recognized for sacrifices during Guard deployment

Posted: 2017-05-22  10:57 AM
Welcome Home ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Soldiers of B Co., 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion were welcomed home May 20, 2017, at the River's Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota. During the ceremony, families were recognized for their sacrifices during the year-long deployment.

"I often tell Soldiers and truly believe that as hard as our jobs are at times, our families have the harder job at home," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, commander of the 2-147 Assault Helicopter Battalion. "Because Army family members have a unique burden that many of their friends and families cannot understand, they form family readiness groups, or FRGs, to share information and provide support to one another."

The company's FRG leader, Rhiannon Knutson, wife of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Tom Knutson, was in constant contact with the unit's families and went above and beyond what is normally expected of FRG leaders, said the unit's readiness non-commissioned officer, Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wood.



Camp Ripley's Training Support Unit keeps the base running

Posted: 2017-05-16  12:41 PM
Camp Ripley CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Camp Ripley Training Support Unit is designated to the care, upkeep and assistance to the installation and those utilizing the facility.

"The Training Support Unit's (TSU) primary focus is to support unit training requirements and ensure smooth operations here on Camp Ripley and the Arden Hills Army Training Site in the metro," said Sgt. 1st Class Terry Clabo, Training Support Unit Readiness NCO.

Camp Ripley features numerous ranges and state-of-the-art training facilities to support military, law enforcement, first responder and inter-agency partner training requirements. The installation is structured to have a full complement of automated small arms and large caliber weapon ranges as well as several specialized training facilities.



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