/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
Minnesota National Guard
Train like you fight; Vigilant Guard scenarios prepare participants for the worst

Earthquakes, tanker trucks leaking toxic fumes, riots, tornados, cyber attacks, mass casualty from a chemical plant and floods all happening at the same time  No it is not the end of days or Armageddon  It was Operation Vigilant Guard, an exercise happening simultaneously across the United States

The exercise is a multi-state exercise that is designed to improve the interstate and inter agency workings between the National Guard and local, state and federal emergency responders   Wisconsin was one the many states involved and hosting these scenarios  The Wisconsin Vigilant Guard exercise took place May 14 through May 20 at various locations including Milwaukee, Prairie du Chien Correctional Institution and Volk Field

At Volk Field, members of the Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ohio National Guard, as well as local responders, were busy with a scenario that involved tornados touching down in La Crosse on the edge of the university   The Ohio National Guard members where playing the roll of the Homeland Response Force (HRF)

The HRF provides command and control of multiple Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Enhanced Response Force Packages (CERF-P)s At Volk Field the CERF-P is from the Minnesota National Guard The CERF-Ps provide immediate response to the governor including: incident site search, capability of damaged buildings, rescuing trapped civilians, providing decontamination and performing medical triage and initial treatment to stabilize patients for transport to medical facilities

Download photos
In the scenario, the Minnesota National Guard responds to the outbreak of tornados in La Crosse because the Wisconsin National Guard is already responding to the massive earthquake that has happened along the Ohio River Valley  Minnesota was able to respond in Wisconsin because of an Emergency Management Compact between Minnesota and the bordering states

The Minnesota National Guard’s CERF-P includes members from the both the Army and Air National Guard  Soldiers from the 682nd Engineer Battalion and 434th Chemical Company provide command and control, search and rescue, and decontamination  Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing and 148th Fighter Wing provide medical support during search and rescue, medical treatment and triage, and mortuary services

One of the things that an exercise of this caliber allows is being able to work with the different units and agencies

“It’s good to see the information sharing and seeing how other states do things,” added Lt. Col. Sol Sukut, CERF-P commander “During the mission there isn’t “Airmen” or “Soldiers” there is “CERF-P,” it is a unique opportunity to be in command of a team that is both Air Force and Army and civilians”

One of the many things that the Minnesota CERF-P did during the exercise was to mentor 28 members of the Wisconsin National Guard CERF-P in Madison  The Madison CERF-P learned equipment facilitation, medical procedures, team interaction, logistics and supply, medical command and control and many other aspects of CERF-P inter-element operations

Operation Vigilant Guard was part of the larger National Level Exercise 11, a training scenario about responding to a 65-7 magnitude earthquake along the New Madrid fault line This exercise involved more than 40,000 National Guard members working with active duty Service members and federal and state emergency personnel in the successful execution of the largest interagency exercise ever

Being a CERF-P member can be stressful and labor intensive

“The dedication of these Soldiers and Airmen is amazing,” said Sukut, “regular Guardsmen train 24 days throughout the year and two weeks during the summer  CERF-P Service members usually train over 30 days more during their first year on the team and then an extra two weeks every year”

Sukut felt that the training was very rewarding and realistic 

“You gotta train like you fight,” said Sukut “We relish the opportunity to come to Volk Field and be part of Operation Vigilant Guard“

Story and photos by Army Sgt Johnny Angelo
Minnesota National Guard
17 May, 2011

Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Minnesota National Guard leaders visit traveling tribute in Austin

Posted: 2018-05-22  10:16 AM
Traveling Wall AUSTIN, Minn. - A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was on display May 16-20, in Austin and leaders of the 347th Regional Support Group took the opportunity to visit during the event's closing ceremony.

The display, dubbed the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, was hosted by Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Austin and featured a near-replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C.

"It was an honor to be part of this humbling and moving tribute to our Vietnam veterans," said Col. Stephen Schemenauer. "The traveling Vietnam Wall is a powerful display, and this event provided an opportunity to meet, and thank, service members from WWII to present-day conflicts. Regardless of their branch of service, or the era or conflict in which they served, we all share a common bond."

Minnesota Aviators lead multi-state National Guard partnership for NTC rotation

Posted: 2018-05-21  03:51 PM
2-147 NTC FORT IRWIN, Calif. - The Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion is working together with aviation units from four different states to provide support to the Tennessee-based 278th Armored Calvary Regiment during a rotation at National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.

Making up Task Force Ragnar is Utah-based B Company, 1st Battalion, 211th Assault Reconnaissance Battalion; Nevada-based B Company, 1-189th General Support Aviation Battalion; Michigan-based C Company, 3-238th GSAB; and Minnesota-based A, D, E and Headquarters Companies, 2-147th AHB and F Company, 1-189th GSAB.

"Early coordination with the units across four states combined with exceptional unit leadership and motivated Soldiers helped us to quickly build the task force when we closed on Fort Irwin," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, Task Force Commander. "I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and teamwork of task force Soldiers. This was an outstanding training opportunity that challenged every Soldier to grow as individuals and units daily."

Deployed Minnesota Guardsman honors grandfather, Hmong heritage

Posted: 2018-05-17  09:57 AM
Brandon Xiong CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - "My heritage is Hmong," said 21 year-old Minnesota National Guard Spec. Brandon Xiong from his desk at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. "A low-key culture that originated from southern Asia. Hmong is not a place, but it is a people."

Xiong, the eldest grandson of the late Col. Song Leng Xiong, is deployed in Kuwait as an information technician for Area Support Group - Kuwait.

"We were not nomadic, but have been in many different conflicts," said Xiong. "Many places I go, I am questioned about my nationality and when answered, end up being even more confused. There is a movie called, "Gran Torino", where Clint Eastwood is introduced to the Hmong culture and I think it portrays the Hmong people not so terribly."

Month of the Military Child recognizes contributions of military kids

Posted: 2018-04-07  01:54 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The month of April is designated as the Month of the Military Child to recognize the contributions and sacrifices military children make so their family members can serve. An estimated 15,000 children in Minnesota have been affected by the deployment of a parent.

"Military children bear a lot while their family members serve," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "It is up to us to support these resilient kids and help to lessen their burden."

An event to honor military kids in Minnesota will take place April 13, 2018, at the Mall of America rotunda from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Activities will include appearances by the Teddy Bear Band and meet and greets with Nickelodeon characters.

Article archive