| South-west prepares troop send-offs
Soldiers in Battery A & B to serve in Kuwait
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
LUVERNE — More than 1,200 people are expected to attend a military parade and send-off for soldiers in the B Battery of the 125th Field Artillery Sunday in Fairmont The unit consists of soldiers serving in the Fairmont and Jackson National Guard
At the same time, organizers in Rock County are planning for a military parade on Memorial Day, May 30, in Luverne, for soldiers in the A Battery of the 125th, which includes soldiers serving in the Luverne-Pipestone National Guard
The two batteries include more than 260 soldiers, many living in southwest Minnesota, who will be deployed to Kuwait sometime this summer
Battery A Captain Brian Douty, Pipestone, said the soldiers from Pipestone-Luverne and Jackson-Fairmont will depart for Camp Ripley on Sunday, where they will complete all of their necessary paperwork prior to deployment They will return to southwest Minnesota on May 29
“We’re home for four days and then we’ll depart for Fort McCoy, Wis, on June 2,” said Douty It’s uncertain how long they will be at Fort McCoy, but it is estimated to be 45 to 60 days before they are sent overseas
While stationed near Kuwait, Douty said the soldiers will provide convoy security, base defense and general security in the area around Kuwait and Iraq
The estimated one-year deployment means the soldiers should return home in May 2012
Soldiers serving in the B Battery will march from the Five Lakes Center mall to the National Guard Armory in Fairmont beginning at noon Sunday
The military parade will be led by members of the American Legion and VFW and will also include the Jackson County Central drum corps, the Fairmont High School band and fire trucks representing each of the towns in Martin and Jackson counties
They will be followed by the 130 soldiers of Battery B in a march down the nearly two-mile route, according to Ken Craig, one of the event organizers
“We’re encouraging people to wear red and line up along the parade route,” added Bob Wallace, president of the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce Red “Support our Troops” T-shirts have been sold in recent weeks for the parade
When the soldiers arrive at the Armory, they will be transported to the arena on the Martin County Fairgrounds for a pork patty luncheon with their families They will then board buses to depart for Camp Ripley
When the soldiers return to Fairmont May 29, the Martin County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon campaign will host several activities for the families of the deploying soldiers, according to campaign member Tamara Plumhoff
Events begin on May 30, with a memorial parade at 10 am, followed by a picnic at the Red Rock Center for the Arts, 222 E Blue Earth Ave, Fairmont All military personnel, active and retired, are welcome to attend with a spouse for free, while the general public may purchase a ticket at the center the day of the meal
Coinciding with the Memorial Day events in Fairmont will be train rides, a petting zoo and face painting for the children, and an Honor Program featuring Robert and Patty Posivio of Sherburn as guest speakers The Posivios lost their son, Daniel, to a car crash while he was home on leave from the Navy A few years later, son Robby was killed in Iraq
On Tuesday and Wednesday, activities are planned for families of the deploying soldiers, as those who live outside the 50-mile radius of Fairmont are required to stay in the community The events include pontoon tours of the Fairmont lakes by the Let’s Go Fishing program and early bird specials at Rose Lake Golf Course
Tuesday evening will include bowling, pizza and bars for the military families at Bowlmor Lanes, while Wednesday night will be a Red Bull Rodeo at the Fairmont Holiday Inn, featuring a mechanical bull, calf roping for the kids and a chuck wagon buffet, followed by DJ music
“We try to create activities we can do so the time is more positive than just dreading when (the soldiers) leave,” said Plumhoff
Peggy Adams, chair of the Rock County Citizens Committee that is organizing the send-off for the Luverne-Pipestone National Guard troops, said there will be a military parade at 12:30 pm May 30 The nearly 135 soldiers in the A Battery will march from the Luverne National Guard Armory to the Luverne Elementary commons The public is invited and encouraged to line the streets and provide a proper send-off
The troops will be met by the Patriot Guard and members of the VFW at the school, and will then march into the gymnasium for a 1 pm program that will include performances by the Luverne High School band, and several speakers to include Capt Douty, Luverne VFW Commander Bill Martin, Luverne Mayor Pat Baustian, Rep Joe Schomaker, and Rep Tim Walz District 22 Sen Doug Magnus will attend after presenting the Memorial Day program in Pipestone
Lt Col Troy Soukup, Battalion commander, will issue the order to the soldiers prior to their departure, while a mass presentation of the colors will be conducted by members of the Hardwick, Hills and Luverne American Legions
Following the event, the Rock County Dairy Association will host an ice cream social, with financial contributions provided by both the Rock County Corn Growers and the Cornerstone Co-op An estimated 1,000 people are expected to attend
Adams said the public is invited back to Luverne on June 2, when the soldiers from Pipestone and Luverne will board three buses prior to their departure to Fort McCoy, Wis
“They will drive down Main Street and Highway 75, and we want people out waving flags to give them a good send-off,” Adams said
Published May 09, 2011, 10:37 PM
Norwegian youth recognized for response to vehicle accident
Posted: 2017-02-22 09:59 AM
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
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."
Norwegian youth train with Minnesota National Guard
Posted: 2017-02-16 10:52 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. -Youth of the Norwegian Home Guard experienced some of Minnesota culture along with focused military style training during the first week of NOREX 2017.
The U.S.--Norway reciprocal Troop Exchange, which began Feb. 9, 2017, annually swaps approximately 100 Soldiers and Airmen from the Minnesota National Guard and a like number of Norwegian Home Guard soldiers as well as youths to experience each other's training, military lifestyle and most importantly, culture.
"It's rewarding interacting with more young people eager to learn about a new lifestyle and culture," said Capt. Brett Farniok, Youth Platoon Officer-in-Charge.
Warmly welcomed, U.S. contingent arrives in Norway for NOREX 44
Posted: 2017-02-12 01:38 PM
CAMP VAERNES, Norway - Following a muster at the 133rd Airlift Wing and an eight-hour overnight flight across the Atlantic Ocean, nearly 100 Soldiers and Airmen with the Minnesota National Guard finally arrived in Norway to conduct the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange on Feb. 9, 2017.
While the U.S.-based Soldiers were warmly greeted by members of the Norwegian Home Guard at Camp Vaernes, a similarly-sized group of Norwegian Home Guard members were received at Camp Ripley Training Center. The arrival of military members from both countries to their host nations formally began the annual exchange, which provides a unique opportunity for individuals to become fully-immersed in foreign military and social culture.
"Though I didn't know what to expect before getting here, they have been very welcoming," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Taylor Hanson, a member of the 148th Fighter Wing. "They are making sure we had everything."