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Minnesota National Guard
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - We've all seen photos of squads responding to an improvised explosive device  We secure as required, stabilize casualties, and move out of the kill zone  But what happens when that device is a rocket or mortar?  What happens if it is not a patrol and it is on an Army post that does not move?  Members of the 134th Brigade Support Battalion, from the Minnesota National Guard, face those questions every day to identify scenarios, make changes to prevent them, and train to react

The exercise begins with a phone call to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC)  Spc Tracy White, from Morris, Minn, answers and gathers as much detail as possible  Sgt 1st Class Christian Hudson, from Elk River, Minn, begins the notification list  The EOC can borrow the description applied to combat; hours of boredom interspaced with moments of sheer terror  Exercises are designed to change terror into focused, effective actions



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Force protection exercises are a necessary part of Army life  The intricacies change when a unit becomes a Command Cell, responsible for everything from sanitation contracts to force protection Calling in a 9-line MEDEVAC request takes on a new meaning when the call and response are under the same command  Coordinating Army, Air Force, Navy and non-military contactors adds the idiosyncrasies of each organization  The Army medic says the patient is a "˜B'  The fire department asks if the patient is a Yellow or a Red  Communication issues are important but not the only reason for doing exercises 

When asked to summarize the intent of exercises, 1st Lt Duane Kimball replied, "Muscle memory; like fire drills in kindergarten"  He describes how people do not panic when they recognize a situation and have a ready response  He further described that we may know how to do what needs to be done, but we need to make sure it is fresh in everyone's minds   

1st Lt Michael Buchan, 26 from St Paul, Minn, is the force protection officer for the 134th Brigade Support Battalion  He wants to increase the complexity and detail of future exercises  "We are coordinating with Emergency Management so they can incorporate more of their procedures into the training"  It becomes a test of "˜Spy vs Spy' as one medic writes a scenario to see if the other medics are following the correct processes 

Each functional area in a response has to remain proficient in their area  Force protection plans and exercises are modular, flexible, and scale to the actual need  Every scenario is different and there is often not a "˜best' solution  Incident commanders have to know their resource capabilities and be comfortable with the response process    

It is difficult to be surprised when "˜the call' comes in to the EOC  Maj Bruce Kelii, from Bloomington, Minn, just happens to be in the area with a notepad and pen  The element of surprise is lost, but exercise still goes as planned  Well, mostly as planned  The post-wide announcement system begins its monthly test half way through the exercise clearly announcing a direct attack  Two medics on their way home for R&R show up at the Troop Medical Clinic to help As General Eisenhower said, "plans are worthless, but planning is everything" 
 
26 Sept, 2011
Story and photos by Chief Warrant Officer Daniel McGowan
Unit Public Affairs Representative
1st Brigade Combat Team







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National Guard Soldiers advance to all-Army Best Warrior Competition

Posted: 2017-07-22  11:02 AM
ARNG BWC CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Fourteen of the Army National Guard's most elite Soldiers gathered on Camp Ripley Training Center in central Minnesota July 17-20 to determine who would compete in the all-Army Best Warrior Competition later this year.

Although every Soldier gave it their all, only one noncommissioned officer and one enlisted Soldier would claim the title of Army National Guard Best Warrior. The room was tense as everyone awaited the results during the final awards ceremony.

"We told you we were going to do everything but break you," said Command Sgt. Maj. Doug Wortham, the Minnesota National Guard Senior Enlisted Advisor. He summarized the four days explaining how the competitors all came from their respective states as individual competitors and through the competition ended up as comrades. "You were stressed, you were challenged. You guys did a fantastic job... But, the devil's in the details."



Fourteen Soldiers. Twelve States. One Competition.

Posted: 2017-07-16  09:45 PM
ARNG BWC One Soldier (junior enlisted) and one NCO (non-commissioned officer) will emerge at the top at the Army National Guard's Best Warrior Competition held at Camp Ripley, Minn., July 17-20, 2017, and move on to represent the Guard in the All-Army Best Warrior Competition in October.

The competitors have been conducting last-minute training since July 12 at Camp Ripley by honing their skills on various weapons, maintaining their physical strength and endurance, and reviewing military tasks.

"I'm feeling very confident," said Cpl. Joseph Garback, a cannon crewmember with B Co., 1st Battalion, 114th Infantry, 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, New Jersey National Guard. He's been preparing with the other Region 1 competition winner, Sgt. Zachary Scuncio. Garback says he has really liked the hands-on preparation at Camp Ripley and believes he's had an ample amount of time to prepare.



Minnesota-based Combat Aviation Unit Soars into Battle Phase of Bilateral Training Exercise

Posted: 2017-07-16  09:52 AM
34th CAB CAMP ATTERBURY, Indiana - More than 140 Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade have established a presence at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, where they are supporting and engaging in high-level military operations and synchronization training.

Members of the St. Paul, Minnesota-based aviation unit, which is adept at providing a wide spectrum of aviation support, recently dove into the battle phase of the bilateral training exercise Talisman Saber 17. Throughout the exercise, much of their training will focus on air-ground integration -- or synchronizing aviation operations into the scheme of maneuver planned and conducted by forces on the ground.



Camp Ripley to host National Guard Best Warrior Competition

Posted: 2017-07-10  10:50 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10, 2017

CAMP RIPLEY, Minn.- Fourteen soldiers from 12 states, representing seven Army National Guard regions will compete July 17-20 at Camp Ripley in the Army National Guard's
Best Warrior Competition.

"This competition will test the soldiers' ability to perform tasks that are vital to our ability to fight and win our nation's wars," said Command Sgt. Maj. Douglas Wortham, senior enlisted advisor for the Minnesota National Guard. "We will push them to their limits to test their endurance, strength and resilience - qualities that our soldiers must possess to be successful."

The four-day competition will feature several events to test the soldiers both physically and mentally. The soldiers will demonstrate their proficiency with weapons, their physical strength and endurance, their ability to perform military tasks and their ability to put their knowledge to use under pressure.



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