| Soldiers find Respite, Resources at Family Prep Academy
The Minnesota National Guard is taking no chances with the well-being of its Soldiers and families over long deployments With news that the 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT) will be leaving in May for another deployment overseas, the Guard is setting aside a day of training to bring Soldiers and their loved ones together for a day to relax and learn about what the Guard can offer during the separation
On Jan 22-23, the Guard hosted a Family Prep Academy, a training program within the nationally recognized Beyond the Yellow Ribbon campaign which is given credit for improving the quality of life for Soldiers and families throughout the deployment cycle
The Family Prep Academy is designed to provide support in the period before the deployment, said Staff Sgt Mark Jancze, the Operations NCO for the Deployment Cycle Support Team based in Cottage Grove
“It puts reality to the fact that their husband or wife is leaving, on their way out the door,” said Jancze
When the 1st BCT mobilized for Iraq in 2005, there was very little structure in place to support the families of Soldiers for what would be almost 22 months away from home Minnesota National Guard leadership knew this had to change
The Family Prep Academy is a “really good idea,” said 1st Lt Seth Miletich, an officer with C Troop of 1st Squadron, 94th Cavalry Unit commanders put out information about Beyond the Yellow Ribbon events as often as possible, said Miletich, who attended the event with his wife Bethany
“It’s something we push a lot—you better be telling your loved ones about this,” he said
Miletich recently attended a six-month captain’s course which he also feels has prepared him, his wife Bethany, and their two young daughters for what lies ahead Even though childcare is provided at Yellow Ribbon events, the couple left their two young daughters with a sitter so that they could focus better on what the program had to offer
Sgt Mike Ramponi and his wife Jennifer brought their young children to the event with them Mike admits that the first unit deployment – which stretched almost two years – really took its toll on his wife Jennifer and their daughter Sage and son Lucca But with resources offered from the Family Prep Academy, the couple feels better about this upcoming deployment
They are getting information to us, said Jennifer, “where before, we didn’t have any information at all”
The Minnesota National Guard, in partnership with the Minneapolis VA Healthcare System, is also rolling out a survey called RINGS – Readiness and Resilience in National Guard Soldiers – which will collect information on the needs of military families, the challenges of Soldiers before, during and after deployments, and how to enhance resources for Soldiers and families For more information, visit wwwBeyondTheYellowRibbonorg
By 1st Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
Camp Ripley strikes first before wildfire season
Posted: 2017-03-24 10:19 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Every spring Camp Ripley begins its annual controlled burn program to help reduce the risk of wildfire during training.
"Usually the burns are completed every spring before the summer annual training season begins," said Tim Notch, training area coordinator on Camp Ripley. "However, the warmer weather conditions provide a nice opportunity for preventative burns earlier this season."
As in years past Camp Ripley will conduct controlled burns on approximately 13,000 acres of the 53,000-acre military reservation. The burns are done in coordination with the staffs of the Camp Ripley Department of Public Works and the Camp Ripley Environmental Department along with support from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Minnesota Guardsman earns recognition through Leads 2 Enlistment program
Posted: 2017-03-23 09:46 AM
DULUTH, Minn. - Pfc. Trevor Nelson received the Minnesota Distinguished Recruiting Ribbon and a Minnesota Recruiting and Retention Battalion medallion for excellence from Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Serbus, March 18, 2017, at the Duluth Armory. Nelson earned these awards as part of the online referral system, Leads 2 Enlistment for referring four friends who have joined the Minnesota National Guard.
"I talked to some buddies in my school about the Guard. They liked the benefits, so I put their info in the app and let my recruiter take over." said Nelson. "I thought it would be fun to serve with friends and help them figure out their path in life."
Nelson is currently a senior at Cloquet Senior High School and assigned to the Recruit Sustainment Program in Duluth. He attended basic training at Fort Benning in the summer of 2016 with follow-on training in the summer of 2017 to become an infantryman.
Litchfield and Local Veteran Honor Gen. John Vessey at Armory Open House
Posted: 2017-03-10 08:50 AM
LITCHFIELD, Minn. -Bruce Cottington, a Navy veteran of WWII and Korea, donated a bronze bust of Gen. John W. Vessey, Jr. to the Litchfield National Guard unit during the armory's public open house event March 4. Cottington, a Litchfield resident, commands the Minnesota Chapter of the Veterans of Underage Military Service. VUMS members enlisted in the military prior to the minimum age requirement in order to serve their country during WWII. Cottington received the bust from Vessey, a fellow VUMS member. Both enlisted in the military at the age of 16.
The highlight of the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion open house was the unveiling of the sculpture. The unit was very supportive when Cottington proposed donating the sculpture. The Litchfield community has always been very supportive of the National Guard over the years, so the open house was a chance to say 'thanks' to their neighbors. "This was a great opportunity to honor Bruce and to honor Gen. Vessey," said B Co., 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion Commander, Capt. Seth Goreham. Bravo Company also has a tight relationship with the local American Legion and VFW. Many Litchfield citizens are former members of Bravo Company, or the unit's predecessors A Co, 682nd Engineer Battalion, and the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company.
Camp Ripley welcomes new command sergeant major
Posted: 2017-03-08 03:29 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The garrison command team of Camp Ripley, family, friends and colleagues from the Minnesota National Guard attended a Change of Responsibility ceremony between Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Worden and Command Sgt. Maj. Matt Erickson, March 5, 2017, at Camp Ripley.
The ceremony was an official "passing of the sword" from one senior noncommissioned officer to the next and assumption of the duties and responsibilities that go along with the position of Garrison Command Sergeant Major.
As with many military ceremonies those in attendance welcomed Erickson as a new member of the team and bid farewell, recognized and thanked Worden for his service.