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Minnesota National Guard
Desert Bulls Ride Again

The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division (1/34th BCT) is ramping up for a deployment in support of Operation New Dawn in Kuwait Approximately 2,400 Soldiers are at Ft McCoy, Wis participating in a variety of events and required training tasks, which will prepare them for their mission to Kuwait

From being proficient with tasks in the field, such as manning an entry control point, first aid, convoy security and vehicle and personnel searches, the Citizen-Soldiers of the 1/34th BCT are getting adjusted to the challenges the next year may bring "For the average person here, the physical, professional and personal adjustments from going from citizen to Soldier has been demanding," said Sgt 1st Class Donald Klick, Senior Paralegal Noncommissioned Officer, 1/34th BCT, Headquarters Company, "the ability to focus on the mission here has helped with the adjustment of becoming an active-duty Soldier"

The upcoming culminating training event (CTE) will be challenging and it will also involve the coordination of the entire brigade From the infantryman to the human resource specialists, the exercise will task everyone in the brigade to work together

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"The exercise will give the 1/34th BCT an insight to the operations downrange," said Sgt Sigfredo Guzman, Intelligence Sergeant, 197th Fires Brigade out of New Hampshire who is currently serving a tour in the area of operations the Red Bulls will go to "It helps them understand and experience what obstacles and pitfalls they may face and how to work around them"

The exercise will give the Soldiers within the tactical operations centers real-world scenarios that they will have to troubleshoot with the different companies and battalions within the brigade

"Operations can fail without clear and concise communication," said Sgt Guzman "This exercise can provide a location to work out all the issues with communicating throughout the different echelons of the brigade"

The Soldiers of the 1/34th BCT will be wrapping up their training in July and deploying for a yearlong tour in Kuwait All the Soldiers of the 1/34th BCT are expected to return early next summer

For more stories and photos about the Soldiers within the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division check them out on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/MinnesotaRedBulls

Story and photos by Staff Sgt Lynette Hoke
1/34th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
June 18, 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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