| Minnesota National Guard stays busy at Arden Hills site
Work is nearly complete on the Minnesota National Guard's $15 million, 61,000-square-foot Readiness Center, located on former Army land in Arden Hills (Jacobs was the architect) The Guard meanwhile plans to start work in September on a $29 million, 98,000-square-foot field maintenance shop, shown in this rendering from BWBR Architects
The future of the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition plant site in Arden Hills might be still up in the air, but at least part of the area already has a bright future as a Minnesota Army National Guard location
The Guard is finishing construction work on a $15 million, 61,000-square-foot armory, now called readiness centers, and plans to seek construction bids soon for a $29 million, roughly 98,000-square-foot, maintenance shop for the Guard's vehicles
Work on the field maintenance shop is expected to start in September, with likely completion in February 2013 The maintenance shop won't be the end of the work either The Guard also plans to build a second readiness center, a $17 million project including about 70,000 square feet, starting in 2013
The idea, more than a decade in the making, is to provide a more centralized location for Guard training operations around the Twin Cities, said Col Bruce Jensen, the Minnesota National Guard's construction and facilities management officer
"It provides an area for them to do more small-unit type training," Jensen said
The projects are also providing much-needed work for a construction industry still reeling in the recession's aftermath "We'd like to have more work in the private sector, but we'll take any work," said David Semerad, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota
Jensen didn't have estimates about how many construction jobs are involved with the projects But Dianne Holte - whose Ramsey-based Holte Contracting partnered with Calgary, Alberta-based Graham Group as the general contractor estimates - at least 100 construction workers labored on the readiness center
Besides work, the readiness center provided Holte's company with experience Graham provided mentorship for Holte under a US Small Business Administration program Holte generally works on projects that are less than $3 million, but Holte thinks her firm may take on larger projects in the future
"You have to keep reinventing yourself just to stay in business and survive," Holte said
The readiness center will be mostly completed in October, after which it will be a home base for more than 200 troops of the 147th Human Resources Company, currently based in Roseville, and the 1135th Forward Support Company, currently based in Austin, Minn
"There will be units assigned to that facility, and they will actually drill there on the weekends There will be some fulltime support personnel that will work there," Jensen said
The move will free up some sorely needed space at the units' respective armories
More efficiency is also the name of the game for the field maintenance shopThe Minnesota National Guard is still operating out of facilities that are decades old, including armories constructed in the early 20th century when internal combustion engines were more of a curiosity than a military tool
After construction finishes in February 2013, the maintenance shop will have 18 repair bays and 35 staff working on everything from Humvees to transport trucks
All of the work is taking place on 300 acres on the southern border of a total 1,500 acres that the Guard acquired from the Army in 2001 after the closure of the ammunition plant The Guard plans to leave alone the remaining 1,200 acres, using it for training maneuvers
The Minnesota National Guard land is to the east of hundreds of acres still under the control the Army Ramsey County officials have been promoting the Army land, east of Highway 10 and north of Highway 96, as the site of a potential Minnesota Vikings stadium
Team officials have said they hope the Legislature will consider a stadium bill in a coming special session
Story by Chris Newmarker
Finance & Commerce
18 July 2011
Finance & Commerce
Minnesota Identification Card will no longer grant access to Department of Defense installations
Posted: 2016-08-19 01:53 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 19, 2016
ST. PAUL, Minn.-
With the implementation of the "REAL ID Act" going into effect at Department of Defense installations nationwide, access will no longer be granted to Minnesotans carrying standard state-issued identification cards. Beginning this week, Minnesota residents will be required to have an approved escort or use alternative forms of identification to access the following installations:
- 133rd Airlift Wing, St. Paul
- 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth
- 934th Joint Base, Minneapolis
- Military Facility at Fort Snelling
Without a 'Real ID,' access will be granted only to individuals with an approved escort (i.e. a service member with a Common Access Card), or carrying one of the approved alternative forms of acceptable ID.
General John W. Vessey, Jr. - The 10th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Posted: 2016-08-19 08:22 AM
General John W. Vessey, Jr., a former member of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Red Bull Infantry Division and the 10th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away August 18, 2016, at the age of 94.
General John W. Vessey, Jr. was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 29 June 1922. He enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard in May 1939 while still in high school, becoming a member of Headquarters, 59th Field Artillery Brigade, 34th Infantry Division. He was only 16 and fibbed about his age to join. With other members of his unit he was called to active duty in February 1941. When war came, the 34th became the first American division sent to Europe, where it initially fought in North Africa and then in Italy. A natural leader, Vessey rose quickly in the enlisted ranks until 6 May 1944 when, pinned down on the Anzio Beachhead amidst high casualties, the 21-year old battery first sergeant was given a battlefield commission and sent forward to direct artillery fire.
Vessey decided to stay in the Army after war. During his first 30 years of military service, he spent most of his time in combat divisions. In addition to his World War II assignment with the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division in North Africa and Italy, Vessey served with the 4th Infantry Division and 3rd Armored Division in Germany, the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam and was commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Carson, Colorado.
He attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the Armed Forces Staff College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He also graduated from the University of Maryland. His love of flying prompted him to earn his wings, which he always wore proudly. When he graduated from the Army Helicopter School in 1970, he was 15 years older than the next oldest student.
Message of hope and healing stands out during fun run
Posted: 2016-08-18 10:49 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - A 5K run/walk event was held for Minnesota National Guard service members Saturday at Camp Ripley.
This event is one of two in the series of fun runs hosted by the Resilience, Risk Reduction & Suicide Prevention, or R3SP.
"Soldiers truly enjoyed this alternative training option. The smiles that were on the participants faces when they crossed the finish line showed they had fun," said Sgt. 1st Class Jeanette Chaffee of R3SP.
Guard unit proudly carries Heritage Torch
Posted: 2016-08-17 09:07 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Soldiers of the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment celebrated, remembered and cherished the legacy of their unit with several events this past drill weekend.
The inheritance of over 70 years of deployments, challenges and achievements resonated in the several events executed by the men and women of the battalion.
"The trials this unit lived through since its creation are inspirational for all of us ... no matter what you are doing," said Capt. Joe Howe, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment.