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Minnesota National Guard
Soldiers Depart Halloween Capital for Deployment to Kuwait

Soldiers from Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division said goodbye to their family and friends during a departure ceremony May 15, 2011 in Anoka

After the ceremony, C Battery headed north for their two-week annual training at Camp Ripley, Minn where they will prepare for a spring deployment to Kuwait

The festivities began at the battery's downtown Anoka Armory with a brief meet and greet for family and friends Shortly after, the Soldiers assembled into a formation and marched to historic Goodrich Field for the official departure ceremony The path to Goodrich was lined with the American flags provided by the Minnesota Patriot Guard and spectators cheered on the Soldiers as family and friends walked behind the formation

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Upon arrival, the Soldiers received a standing ovation from hundreds of supporters in the Goodrich bleachers Among the supporters was Cassie Corbin, wife of Staff Sgt Scott Corbin, a forward observer for C Battery and a native from Ramsey, Minn Cassie is pregnant with the couple's first child and she knows communication on the deployment will be important

"Skype is the big thing we'll be using to stay in contact," said Cassie

For Scott, this will be his fourth deploy, but first deployment as a married man and he is aware his priorities have changed

Scott added, "When I was single my main focus was only on the men, the mission and the welfare of my troops Now I've got double duty with the same focus as well as taking care of my wife at home"

Of course not all troops are married, but that certainly does not mean their lives are void of tremendous commitments  Spc Isaac Peterson, a Soldier with C Battery, is a student-athlete at the College of St Scholastica in Duluth, Minn The 20-year old specialist had the option to do "college first," which is an option for Soldiers who are students to be exempt from deployment for a period of time   However, he understands that duty calls and he is not worried about the transition from full-time student to full-time Soldier

"I think, more or less it's just something you have to do," said Peterson "I will adjust accordingly With my leadership, and how good of friends I am with everybody in the unit, it should be a pretty easy process"

Following the ceremony, Soldiers and their loved ones were treated to an ice cream social before boarding the buses to Camp Ripley   The Soldiers of C Battery are expected to deploy for a year in support of Operation New Dawn and return home in the spring of 2012

By Pfc Bob Brown
1st Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
15 May, 2011





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Mission Complete: Bearcats Finish NATO Exercise in Lithuania's Suwalki Gap

Posted: 2017-06-23  02:56 PM
Air Assault Saber Strike PABRADE, Lithuania - At the sound of 17 U.S. Army rotary wing aircraft humming through the air, Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry, in addition to Service members of five NATO Allied countries, load onto Black Hawk, Chinook and Apache helicopters, at Kazlu Ruda airstrip during the Saber Strike exercise, June 17, 2017. The multinational effort came together to conduct an air and ground assault in the Suwalki Gap to demonstrate the nations' capability to respond to any hostile act of a potential adversary.

"You could tell on everyone's faces that this was go time," said Sgt. Derrick Bruestle, a team leader for 2-136th CAB, also known as the Bearcats. "It wasn't just a training exercise to them anymore, it was a serious mission with real implications on the real world."

The magnitude of the exercise set in as the first bird lifted off the airstrip and started moving toward the objective in a staggered formation. Saber Strike is a U.S. Army Europe-led NATO exercise meant to exhibit a strengthened partnership of the military assets of the NATO Alliance.



Beyond NATO Commitments, MN State Partnership with Croatia Continues to Grow

Posted: 2017-06-22  10:25 AM
Saber Strike SPP PABRADE, Lithuania - Since 1996, the Minnesota National Guard and the Croatian Armed Forces have been partners in the National Guard's State Partnership Program. Beyond the bond of the NATO commitment, a mutual trust and unique bond has been forged amongst the warriors of each respective nation. From Camp Ripley to Karlovac, the soldiers have found a common cause of continuous improvement. Exercise after exercise, there has been a greater appreciation of one another's culture and customs.

You don't have to look to far to see this dynamic. When asked if he had ever worked with Minnesota National Guardsmen before, 1Lt Emanuel Hamer of the Croatian Armed Forces said, "This is my fourth time working with 2-136 "Bearcats," each time we grow closer and stronger. I feel like they are members of my unit. I'm glad I have this opportunity to learn new techniques and share some of our own with the Americans."



7 Nations, 4 Branches, 1 Mission; Saber Strike '17

Posted: 2017-06-20  02:14 PM
Saber Strike 17 PABRADE, Lithuania - As the sun begins to set on the Lithuanian countryside, the final touches are put on the camouflage netting designed to break the silhouette and conceal the position of the Tactical Action Center, or TAC, of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division on June 17, 2017. As part of the multinational exercise of Saber Strike '17, the 1/34th ABCT is providing support to the Air Assault Task Force Commander, Col. Charles Kemper.

As the first ever combined air and ground assault in the annual Saber Strike exercise, this year's exercise has set a milestone in testing the compatibility of seven nations and all military branches.

"We want to reassure all of our NATO Allies that we are in this together," said Kemper. "We're part of the team and we can demonstrate capability."



Minnesota Aviators complete successful eXportable Combat Training Capability exercise

Posted: 2017-06-20  08:30 AM
XCTC FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard's 2-147th Assault Helicopter Battalion wrapped up support for an eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) exercise at Fort Hood, Texas, recently. The unit was part of Task Force Ragnar, the exercise's aviation element, supporting the Tennessee National Guard's 278th Armored Calvary Regiment as they prepare for a rotation to the National Training Center in 2018.

"Our mission is to support a brigade element here," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 John Otremba, with the 2-147. "But I think our ultimate mission is to train for an austere environment which sets us up for success at NTC next year."

The task force conducted aviation support missions including air assault, sling load, deliberate attack, defensive positioning and key leader escorts. They also conducted aviation-specific training in personnel recovery, downed aircraft recovery, field maintenance and air traffic control operations.



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