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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: 2017-03-24 10:19 AM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Every spring Camp Ripley begins its annual controlled burn program to help reduce the risk of wildfire during training.
"Usually the burns are completed every spring before the summer annual training season begins," said Tim Notch, training area coordinator on Camp Ripley. "However, the warmer weather conditions provide a nice opportunity for preventative burns earlier this season."
As in years past Camp Ripley will conduct controlled burns on approximately 13,000 acres of the 53,000-acre military reservation. The burns are done in coordination with the staffs of the Camp Ripley Department of Public Works and the Camp Ripley Environmental Department along with support from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Posted: 2017-03-23 09:46 AM DULUTH, Minn. - Pfc. Trevor Nelson received the Minnesota Distinguished Recruiting Ribbon and a Minnesota Recruiting and Retention Battalion medallion for excellence from Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Serbus, March 18, 2017, at the Duluth Armory. Nelson earned these awards as part of the online referral system, Leads 2 Enlistment for referring four friends who have joined the Minnesota National Guard.
"I talked to some buddies in my school about the Guard. They liked the benefits, so I put their info in the app and let my recruiter take over." said Nelson. "I thought it would be fun to serve with friends and help them figure out their path in life."
Nelson is currently a senior at Cloquet Senior High School and assigned to the Recruit Sustainment Program in Duluth. He attended basic training at Fort Benning in the summer of 2016 with follow-on training in the summer of 2017 to become an infantryman.
Posted: 2017-03-10 08:50 AM LITCHFIELD, Minn. -Bruce Cottington, a Navy veteran of WWII and Korea, donated a bronze bust of Gen. John W. Vessey, Jr. to the Litchfield National Guard unit during the armory's public open house event March 4. Cottington, a Litchfield resident, commands the Minnesota Chapter of the Veterans of Underage Military Service. VUMS members enlisted in the military prior to the minimum age requirement in order to serve their country during WWII. Cottington received the bust from Vessey, a fellow VUMS member. Both enlisted in the military at the age of 16.
The highlight of the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion open house was the unveiling of the sculpture. The unit was very supportive when Cottington proposed donating the sculpture. The Litchfield community has always been very supportive of the National Guard over the years, so the open house was a chance to say 'thanks' to their neighbors. "This was a great opportunity to honor Bruce and to honor Gen. Vessey," said B Co., 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion Commander, Capt. Seth Goreham. Bravo Company also has a tight relationship with the local American Legion and VFW. Many Litchfield citizens are former members of Bravo Company, or the unit's predecessors A Co, 682nd Engineer Battalion, and the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company.
Posted: 2017-03-08 03:29 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The garrison command team of Camp Ripley, family, friends and colleagues from the Minnesota National Guard attended a Change of Responsibility ceremony between Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Worden and Command Sgt. Maj. Matt Erickson, March 5, 2017, at Camp Ripley.
The ceremony was an official "passing of the sword" from one senior noncommissioned officer to the next and assumption of the duties and responsibilities that go along with the position of Garrison Command Sergeant Major.
As with many military ceremonies those in attendance welcomed Erickson as a new member of the team and bid farewell, recognized and thanked Worden for his service.