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ALI AL SALEM, Kuwait - Each morning Spc Joseph Lecuyer wakes up before his roommates to start his duty day delivering water throughout the camp Moving wooden pallets stacked with boxes of bottles of water throughout the small camp is a daily task
There are no drinking fountains on Army bases in Kuwait
“It’s a tough job,” explains Lecuyer, from Moundsville, Minn, father of two and grandfather of two The relentless desert sun weakens the cardboard boxes making them easily tear, spilling bottles onto the sand once or twice each morning Lecuyer patiently picks up each bottle and places it back into the damaged box in the shaded area of the water point
Moving pallets requires driving a forklift with a load
“I try to beat the heat and foot traffic,” Lecuyer said referring to the transient Soldiers who are unfamiliar with courtesies of walking around a moving forklift “The forklift has AC, but when it’s too hot, it stops working”
During the summer months, the desert temperatures range above 120 degrees
Pallets of water are moved throughout the camp to water points consisting of a shed with a roof to protect the precious cargo from the direct sun Water points are mini-distribution centers located closer to the Soldiers passing through the camp on rest and recuperation (R&R) leave, the two week furlough afforded to deployed service men and women Contractors then move the boxes of water indoors and restock the refrigerators so Soldiers have cold water to drink
“You know the saying, the fastest way is from point A to B, but there’s no straight line here,” he said explaining his morning route
The force protection barriers impeded freedom of movement, as intended, to include water delivery
“It’s very frustrating, tedious and not a lot of space to move pallets It’s like a jigsaw puzzle,” Lecuyer explains “I never know how much water will be used each day It all depends on the transient numbers and how hot it was”
Even with the frustration, Lecuyer takes pride in knowing the importance of his job His duty day ends when each water point is replenished
Lecuyer is deployed with the 134th Brigade Support Battalion, 1/34 Brigade Combat Team, Minnesota National Guard He will deploy for one year and will return next summer to his family His unit is responsible for two Camp Command Cells, providing basic life support services to Soldiers and contractors who pass through or live on the camp and there is nothing more basic to life than water
Posted: 2017-04-28 12:38 PM MANKATO, Minn. - Commissioned leaders of the Minnesota National Guard convened for the 112th General Conference of the National Guard Association of Minnesota at the Verizon Wireless Center and Hilton Garden Inn, Mankato, on April 22, 2017.
The annual gathering of association members - who serve as advocates for the needs of Soldiers, Airmen and their families - includes a business meeting, commanders march, formal dining event and transfer of responsibility to the chapter's new president.
The day's event began with a business meeting, which focused on the association's mission of educating and informing legislators on the issues facing the current and future role of the National Guard in serving Minnesota communities. The strategic planning meeting was attended by Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, his staff and unit commanders.
Posted: 2017-04-26 02:09 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Department of Defense announced that Camp Ripley was selected as the winner of the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation.
The awards recognize individuals, teams and installations for their exceptional environmental achievements and innovative, cost-effective environmental practices.
"The winners' efforts strengthen the Department of Defense's position as a resourceful environmental steward, both at home and abroad, and demonstrate our continued commitment to fulfilling mission needs through advanced environmental practices and technologies," stated James A. MacStravic, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
Posted: 2017-04-26 10:57 AM COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Nicquie Neely has been working with victims of sexual assault for four years in the Minnesota National Guard and also volunteers as a victim advocate in the community. As a victim advocate, it's her job to believe and support victims through a difficult process that can often involve extensive medical care and legal proceedings.
"Ever since I joined the Guard and heard about the SHARP program and learned what a victim advocate was, I always wanted to be one," said Neely. "And then I learned that you had to be an E-6 to be in that position, so the minute I got promoted I asked my commander if I could go to the training."
Neely is a combat medic and the full-time training and administration NCO with Company C, 134th Brigade Support Battalion. In addition to military victim advocate training, Neely also attends regular training with the civilian organization she volunteers for - SOS Sexual Violence Services in Ramsey County.
Posted: 2017-04-24 10:43 AM Washington - Members of the Minnesota National Guard and the Air Force Reserve traveled to Washington D.C. with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (also known as the JCRC), to visit the Holocaust Museum, April 4, 2017, to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Also, traveling with this group were St. Paul and Minneapolis police officers along with students from various high schools around the state. For those in uniform that day, it was an opportunity to see, hear and experience the stories of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
Each Service member who attended was asked to bring back a summary of their experience in the form of a presentation, professional discussion or briefing to their respective unit in order to help other Guard members better understand and remember that horrible event, to honor the courage of the victims and survivors, and to remain vigilant as members of the U.S. military.
"The honor and privilege of accompanying members of the Minnesota National Guard to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. met so many goals," said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the JCRC. "I wanted to reinforce the importance of the commitment of the U.S. military to democracy. After all, it was the Allies that defeated Nazi Germany and ultimately put an end to the Holocaust."