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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
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
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."
Posted: 2017-04-19 02:15 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - It was a challenging and rewarding two weeks for members attending the Army National Guard Funeral Honors Instructor Course, April 1-14, at Camp Ripley.
Soldiers of National Guard units from all over the United States took part in the course designed to educate team leaders in a variety of funeral honor detail tasks, traditions and responsibilities.
"It's a stressful course, but for our job, we have to be prepared to do our job under stress; and we all really benefitted from that," said Class Honor Grad, Sgt. Ryan Valline of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.
Posted: 2017-04-18 01:42 PM ROSEMOUNT, Minn. - The Soldiers of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division had a unique opportunity to speak with one of the U.S. Army's five Muslim chaplains April 7-10, 2017. U.S. Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Khallid Shabazz, I Corps deputy command chaplain, travelled from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Minnesota to provide professional development for the division chaplain section.
"Soldiers perform at a higher level when they are spiritually fit," said Minnesota National Guard Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Buddy Winn, the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division command chaplain. "And, it's our job as chaplains to make sure Soldiers have their spiritual needs met, regardless of faith. Having Chaplain Shabazz here as a Muslim Chaplain provides the diversity in religious background that we can't provide internally."
There are five major religions supported by the chaplaincy: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, but over 200 religions are recognized. Chaplains can only perform services for their particular religion, but they can provide support for all Soldiers, regardless of their faith.
Posted: 2017-04-14 04:25 PM ST. PAUL, Minn. - For the third consecutive year, Minnesota service members were honored with on-court recognition and other VIP treatments as part of the Minnesota Timberwolves Heroes of the Pack Program.
"We are very appreciative for what the military does for us, and we wanted to give something back to honor the military," said Roger McCabe, who along with wife, Nancy, is a driving force behind the recognitions through the FastBreak Foundation and Roger & Nancy McCabe Foundation. "This is our way of doing it."
Having lived through the Vietnam War - and with Roger and Nancy both having parents who served - the two philanthropists decided a few years back to build upon existing recognition efforts already underway by the Timberwolves. And with that, recognitions that were typically happening at Target Center in November expanded to include Minnesota Service members from all branches at every home game - a total of 41 honorees per season.