| 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 a.m., 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 p.m. 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 p.m. 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
US State Partnership Programme improves regional security
Posted: 2015-03-30 10:37 AM
The US has been aiding countries in the region to improve their defence and military capacities as well as their relations with the NATO. The main tool for this goal is the US State Partnership Programme, in which the US National Guard partners with states from the former Soviet Bloc.
"In the process of upgrading the capabilities of the armed forces of small, transitional countries, co-operation with developed, democratic countries and their military structures [is necessary]," Zvonimir Mahecic, an external expert at the Institute for International Relations in Zagreb and a retired colonel from the Croatian military, told SETimes. "Through joint activities, militaries as well as civilians of small countries are getting a chance to learn from the experiences of military structures that had passed through significant development and adjustment to the needs of combat and non-combat operations of the 21st century. This kind of co-operation represents a great chance to transfer knowledge and achieve implementation. One example of this type of co-operation is between the Minnesota National Guard and Croatian."
Gold Star Fathers Share Story of Love, Service and Sacrifice
Posted: 2015-03-25 08:45 AM
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Bill Smith, father of Sgt. 1st Class Paul Smith, and Richard Cauley, father of Spc. George Cauley, two Gold Star dads, recently spoke about their sons and what it means to be a Gold Star father.
"Everyone's greatest fear is the thought they'll say something awkward [to a Gold Star family member]. We want to talk about our loved ones. The greatest sadness would be that no one would remember," said Bill Smith.
334th Brigade Engineer Battalion Celebrates Women's History
Posted: 2015-03-22 01:39 PM
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Soldiers of Headquarters, Headquarters Company of the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion took time away from training to celebrate Women's History Month with a look at the history of women in the Minnesota National Guard from someone who lived it.
Invited to speak at the event was Geraldine Longfellow. In 2008, Longfellow retired from the Minnesota Army National Guard at the rank of lieutenant colonel. She has since been brevetted to the rank of colonel.
Camp Ripley Guardsman Recognized as "Big Brother of the Year"
Posted: 2015-03-18 03:40 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - For many Service members of the Minnesota National Guard, dedication to the community is as high of a priority as any other mission.
"We feel it is our duty, in our own communities, to ensure that our friends and neighbors are taken care of," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ryan Ross.
Ross, who has been an active member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota for over three years, as well as a member of the Minnesota National Guard, was recently recognized by the agency as "Big Brother of the Year" for the State of Minnesota.