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Minnesota National Guard
1BCT takes over mission in Kuwait

From the infantryman conducting patrols, to the field artilleryman launching rounds, in the Army it takes nearly a dozen combat supporting roles to keep a combat Soldier, fed, paid, supported, sheltered and healthy 

In a US Army brigade, a headquarters company usually is where these important mission supporting functions for the subordinate battalions are managed Everything from legal actions, human resource requirements to medical assistance and overseeing operations is handled by these military men and women in mission essential roles, which keep a unit going

The outgoing headquarters company from the New Hampshire National Guard, 197th Fires Brigades (197th FiB) conducted a Transfer of Authority Ceremony Aug 19, 2011 with the incoming headquarters company from the Minnesota National Guard’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division (1/34th BCT) at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait 

“We are about to participate in a simple ceremony, but one of great significance,” said Chaplain (Maj) Steven Venoitte, chaplain for the 197th FiB during the invocation at the ceremony “From the casing and uncasing of colors, it signifies something far greater than the simple actions that occur For the 197th Fires Brigade, this signifies our mission completion and now we can focus on the long waited road home with pride in a job well done”



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Having deployed before in Iraq from 2004 to 2005 supporting base security and convoy escorts, the 197th FiB has played a critical part again in supporting the security and mission in the region 

“During your time here, many of you have grown closer, part of a family,” said Maj Gen Kenneth S Dowd, 1st Theater Sustainment Command Commanding General “You have become a part of the TSC family, nothing makes me prouder”

“I want to say thanks to the Granite Thunder Brigade, you have accomplished a tremendous amount  You accomplished a critical role in theater operations,” said Dowd

For the outgoing unit, transitioning from citizen-to-Soldier was a lengthy process, some members had been preparing for three years  Shortly, the entire unit will return stateside and prepare to integrate themselves back into their communities and families

“Despite never having fired a rocket or round of artillery, the 197th Fires Brigade will be forever proud to say we have served as part of 1st Team,” said Col Peter Corey, commander of the 197th FiB  “The missions were meaningful to the theater and the nation and the sense of camaraderie of the one army concept were recognized and greatly appreciated”

For some of the Soldiers of the 197th FiB, the deployment was a time of professional and personal development  Spc Joe Vicinanzo, paralegal specialist, will be starting law school in the spring  He explained how he learned a lot about how to juggle multiple responsibilities and felt he got a head start for his law career during his tour

“I am proud of how much I learned,” said Vicinanzo and native of Concord, NH  “I definitely learned time management and how to ‘lean forward’ to get things done and to be proactive”

The enlisted and officers of the 1/34th BCT are now officially in charge of mission  All who have been training for since the beginning of the summer for their deployment to Kuwait

“You will find this brigade ready, willing and able,” said Col Eric Kerska, commander of the 1/34th BCT   “To the Red Bull Soldiers, you have trained very hard for this moment for a very long time  You are ready as any team will be”

The Soldiers of the 1/34th BCT are now officially in the driver’s seat and have taken over the mission from the 197th FiB  Spc Tim Connolly worked with Vicinanzo during the transferring of responsibilities in the Judge Advocate General Corps in the headquarters company   Connolly, a new recruit, deployed within a year of completing the Army’s advance individual training for paralegal specialist and also plans on attending a law-related college after his return 

“They did all that they could to make it a smooth transition,” said Connolly, a native from St Louis Park, Minn  “I am excited to do my job on a full time, ‘active-duty’ basis  I think the deployment will help me with college   Working with the military lawyers, who are also civilian lawyers, will help teach me with their experiences on both the military and civilian side  It will better prepare me for my career” 

The Soldiers from the 197th FiB are expected to return stateside by the end of the month and the Soldiers from the 1/34th BCT are expected to stay in theater until early summer of 2012

Story by 1/34th BCT Public Affairs
19 Aug, 2011





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