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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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34th Inf. Div. Commander Re-Dedicates Intersection to Fallen Massachusetts WWII Red Bull

Posted: 2017-09-20  08:33 AM
Winthrop WINTHROP, Mass. - Settled in 1630, Winthrop is one of the oldest communities in the United States. Service members of all branches of the military from this seaside town just north of Boston have fought on behalf of their state and nation since the Revolutionary War. On Saturday, Sept. 16th, Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, the commanding general of the Minnesota-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, participated in a ceremony that honored one of Winthrop's own: Pvt. 1st Class Andrew Biggio.

Like so many young men of his era, 19-year old Winthrop native Andrew Giovanni Biggio raised his hand to volunteer for service in 1944. He was assigned to B Company, 135th Infantry Regiment of the 34th Infantry Division. An infantryman, Biggio fought valiantly with the Red Bulls, liberating the Italian towns of Viterbo, Cecina and Liverno. His heroic actions in combat earned Pvt. 1st Class Biggio a Bronze Star Medal.



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Posted: 2017-09-15  10:45 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2017

MAPLEWOOD, Minn.- Nearly 650 soldiers and airmen are scheduled to attend the Minnesota National Guard's third annual Women's Leadership Forum at the 3M Corporate Headquarters Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017.

"The Minnesota National Guard continues to diversify our force and grow strong leaders," said Brig. Gen. Sandy Best, chief of staff of the Minnesota Air National Guard. "Strong leaders are able to self-manage and channel emotions to produce desired behaviors and results."

The forum is part of an overall effort to promote an inclusive culture, diversify the organization, grow strong leaders and provide professional leadership development for both women and men. The topics will focus on emotional intelligence, leadership, high performing teams and creating a championship culture.



Minnesota Guardsmen tasked for support to Hurricane Irma relief efforts

Posted: 2017-09-11  02:20 PM
133 AW FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn.- This past weekend the Minnesota Air National Guard sent 41 Airmen to support response efforts for Hurricane Irma. Six Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard also departed this morning to support relief efforts.

"I thank Major General Nash for his leadership, and the brave Minnesota National Guard soldiers who will provide assistance in Hurricane Irma response and relief efforts," said Governor Dayton. "I encourage all Minnesotans who are able to contribute to qualified relief efforts. Minnesota stands ready to assist those affected by Hurricane Irma in any way we are able."

The 41 Airmen come from the 133rd Airlift Wing based in St. Paul and have a variety of skillsets. Fourteen of the Airmen are with the unit's Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and specially trained in emergency medical evacuations. They are currently on standby at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois where they will support potential missions in the Caribbean or Southern United States. The remaining personnel comprised of Airlift Control Flight, Logistics Readiness and Security Forces, arrived today at St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands where they will assist in recovery operations. The Airmen can support airports with skills and equipment to re-establish operations after disasters, secure aircraft and load and unload equipment.



Minnesota National Guard to send aviation assets to support Hurricane Harvey

Posted: 2017-09-01  10:42 AM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn.- Governor Dayton has approved 11 soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade to support response efforts for Hurricane Harvey. The soldiers will depart today from St. Cloud via CH-47 chinook helicopters to conduct aviation operations in Texas.

"I am glad that Minnesota will be able to assist the victims of the terrible tragedy in Texas, with 11 Minnesota National Guard soldiers accompanying two Chinook helicopters to join in relief efforts," said Governor Dayton. "I thank Major General Nash for his leadership, and the brave Minnesota soldiers, who will travel to Texas to provide this critical relief. I encourage all Minnesotans, who are able, to donate to the qualified relief efforts. Minnesota stands ready to assist in any way we can."

The Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade is an Army National Guard unit that supports disaster response operations by providing aviation capabilities - both UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters.



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