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Minnesota National Guard
1-34 BCT Officially Extended in Iraq

CAMP Adder, Iraq -- After reading about their extension for four days in the news, the Soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division received an official 125 day extension order today

"This is the word we were waiting for"said Colonel David Elicerio, the BCT Commander "The news last week came as a surprise to all of us Ever since the early rumors about this deployment back in 2005, we have relied upon official orders to make our plans I know such caution can be frustrating for those who want speed but I believe the tradeoff in accuracy is worth it"

The extension order states the Red Bulls will be extended for 125 days past their original return date The Soldiers can now expect to return to their families around August "The extension order only tells you are you extended It does not lay out in details of your mission in the future"said Lieutenant Colonel Larry Herke, the BCT Executive Officer "The detailed operational order is being developed now The Red Bulls can honestly say they are they best in the world at the Theater Security mission We have all the cutting edge training, equipment, and vehicles We certainly are disappointed by the delayed homecoming but there is no doubt we are the best Soldiers for this mission"

The seven battalions of the brigade provide convoy and base security across Iraq Comprised mainly of National Guard Soldiers from Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, and New Jersey, the citizen Soldiers have already patrolled over 15 million miles of Iraq, inspected tens of thousands of vehicles, discovered hundreds of IEDs, upgraded over 600 armored vehicles, and reenlisted almost a thousand Soldiers

"I think everyone was a little shocked by the news"said Command Sergeant Major Douglas Julin, the BCT Command Sergeant Major "It's hard on families, on employers Everyone was making plans for a Spring reunion back home But, we've made it this far, we can make it thought this"

For more information about the 1/34 BCT, please see wwwredbullwebcom

By Captain Mark Lappegaard, 1/34 BCT PAO
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Litchfield and Local Veteran Honor Gen. John Vessey at Armory Open House

Posted: 2017-03-10  08:50 AM
Vessey Bust 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
CSM Erickson 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.



Norwegian youth recognized for response to vehicle accident

Posted: 2017-02-22  09:59 AM
NOREX youth CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Norwegian youths Stian Dahl and Haavard Engen received the Camp Ripley Garrison Commander's coin from Col. Scott St Sauver February 19, 2017, in recognition for reacting to a vehicle accident they witnessed earlier that week.

As part of the U.S.-Norway Reciprocal Troop Exchange, Norwegian youths ages 19-20 are matched up with a host family in order to spend an evening experiencing American culture. In most situations the "Buddy Weekend" as it's called allows the youths to go shopping, attend events and have home-cook meals along with their host family.

"We are able to match up youth members with families all over the state," said Staff Sgt. Tim Krouth, Buddy Weekend organizer. "Lots of the families have hosted one or two of our Norwegian friends for several years in a row now, it a great way to relax and see some of Minnesota."



To the top of the mountain and back, NOREX 44 members embrace the Norwegian winter

Posted: 2017-02-21  01:25 PM
NOREX FTX HALTDALEN, Norway - After two days at a base camp near Haltdalen, Norway, Minnesota National Guardsmen participating in the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange were ready for the most challenging aspect of their four-day field training exercise - a ski march up the mountain.

It was Day three of the FTX, meaning members of the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange had slowly adjusted to surviving and thriving while living in a winter environment and also honed their skills on cross country skills well enough to begin a climb that would take nearly three hours.

"Our goal was to get you to know how to use the winter, see how the Norwegians use the winter, and how we survive the winter so we can conduct combat," said Vidar Aune, one of several members of Home Guard 12 guiding the Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen during their training here. "By getting the experience living outside in the snow, you manage to survive it and handle it quite well."



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