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Minnesota National Guard
Beyond the Basics

Weapons qualification ranges for most soldiers are pretty basic Using their M4 or M16 assault rifles, they have 40 rounds to hit 40 targets 50 to 300 meters out on fairly level ground

That training does a good job of determining who understands the basics of rifle marksmanship, but infantry soldiers also need the ability to engage targets beyond 300 meters on uneven terrain

Soldiers from the 1st and 2nd Platoons in the Winona, Minn based Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment (2-135 IN RGMT) trained on shooting targets up to 600 meters away August 28, 2011 in Northern Kuwait If a formal course is completed, the soldier can become a squad designated marksman (SDM)



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Charlie Company had two days of the training from civilian contractors at the SDM range The first day was spent on briefs and re-zeroing their weapons with different sights

On the second day, each soldier shot targets from 100 meters up to 600 meters at different elevations, postures, and weak-handed Soldiers learned how to estimate wind speed and adjust their aim point for the wind

Estimating wind speed becomes more crucial at longer ranges The standard "˜aim center mass' works well at the average marksman's distance because he or she can still hit the target, but failing to adjust for wind speed beyond that means that the sight picture and breathing alone won't put the rounds at the correct place

"This instructor has been very helpful with showing us the proper technique to hit 600 meter targets with ease," explained Spc Dane Schroeder of Owatonna, Minnesota

Spc Corey Sveen of Winona, Minn agreed with Schroeder's assessment "I feel more comfortable estimating targets further out than 500 meters This can be a great advantage for any infantryman"

That confidence in their training and equipment will be crucial to the success of Charlie Company They will continue to train for any tasks they face as a reaction force


By Pfc Kyle Potaracke

2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment




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Operation Future Warrior, rain or shine

Posted: 2017-05-24  01:12 PM
Operation Future Warrior More than 900 recruits from the Minnesota National Guard came to Camp Ripley Friday through Sunday for Operation Future Warrior.

Young men and women who volunteered to join the Minnesota Army National Guard got to experience a small taste of basic training and military training during the three-day event.

"The intent of Operation Future Warrior is removing the mystery of the training recruits will experience when attending Basic Combat and Advance Individualized Training," said Lt. Col. Eduardo Suarez, recruiting and retention battalion commander.



St. Paul-based Combat Aviation Brigade welcomes new senior enlisted leader

Posted: 2017-05-23  08:03 AM
Hellkamp ARDEN HILLS, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade welcomed a new senior enlisted leader during a change of responsibility ceremony, May 21, 2017, at the Arden Hills Army Training Site.

Command Sgt. Maj. Mitchell Hellkamp assumed duties as the unit's senior noncommissioned officer (NCO) from Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Cunnien, who served in the position for the past two years and will be retiring from the military later this year.

"Command Sgt. Maj. Cunnien is one of the finest leaders that I have worked with in my career," said Col. Shawn Manke, commander of the 34th CAB. "He sets the example for all noncommissioned officers and Soldiers to emulate. He is a true professional, as a visible leader and teacher for the Soldiers of the combat aviation brigade. We're grateful for his many years of service, and we wish him well as he closes out his military career and enters the next chapter in his life."



Families recognized for sacrifices during Guard deployment

Posted: 2017-05-22  10:57 AM
Welcome Home ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Soldiers of B Co., 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion were welcomed home May 20, 2017, at the River's Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota. During the ceremony, families were recognized for their sacrifices during the year-long deployment.

"I often tell Soldiers and truly believe that as hard as our jobs are at times, our families have the harder job at home," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, commander of the 2-147 Assault Helicopter Battalion. "Because Army family members have a unique burden that many of their friends and families cannot understand, they form family readiness groups, or FRGs, to share information and provide support to one another."

The company's FRG leader, Rhiannon Knutson, wife of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Tom Knutson, was in constant contact with the unit's families and went above and beyond what is normally expected of FRG leaders, said the unit's readiness non-commissioned officer, Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wood.



Camp Ripley's Training Support Unit keeps the base running

Posted: 2017-05-16  12:41 PM
Camp Ripley CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Camp Ripley Training Support Unit is designated to the care, upkeep and assistance to the installation and those utilizing the facility.

"The Training Support Unit's (TSU) primary focus is to support unit training requirements and ensure smooth operations here on Camp Ripley and the Arden Hills Army Training Site in the metro," said Sgt. 1st Class Terry Clabo, Training Support Unit Readiness NCO.

Camp Ripley features numerous ranges and state-of-the-art training facilities to support military, law enforcement, first responder and inter-agency partner training requirements. The installation is structured to have a full complement of automated small arms and large caliber weapon ranges as well as several specialized training facilities.



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