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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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Minnesota Guardsmen learn survival skills, train with Norwegian counterparts

Posted: 2018-07-03  01:36 PM
NOREX 45 Over the course of 10 days, 100 Soldiers and Airmen from the Minnesota National Guard who traveled to Norway June 17-26, 2018, for the 45th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange learned valuable survival skills and shared their knowledge with members of the Norwegian Home Guard. This year's exchange was the second to take place during the summer months in the history of the longest-running military partnership between two nations.

"It was a great experience for both the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard," said Capt. 'Kiwi' HorgA�ien, the senior Norwegian instructor. "A cultural exchange, a social exchange and military exchange all packed into one."

The 45th exchange got off to a late start, with flight delays causing the trip to be shortened from its normal length of two weeks. The delay meant that the Minnesota Guardsmen jumped right into training, heading out to the field after just a few hours of sleep.



133rd Airlift Wing Emphasizes Combat Readiness Training

Posted: 2018-06-29  10:48 AM
Alpena ALPENA, Michigan - Approximately 300 U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participated in a readiness exercise at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Alpena, Mich.

The exercise, tagged as Iron Ore, was designed test the Airmen abilities to set up operations at an unfamiliar location and receive in depth training on Ability-To-Survive and Operate (ATSO) principles while supporting airlift and aeromedical flight operations.

To ensure mission success and readiness, Airmen had to complete training at home station prior to leaving for Alpena. Some of this training included weapons qualification, gas mask fit testing, Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) familiarization, self-aid and buddy care and career field training.



Red Bulls Kickoff Division Warfighter

Posted: 2018-06-13  01:38 PM
DIV WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - "A Warfighter is an exercise that allows the Division to evaluate their ability to maneuver assets in a battle," said Master Sgt. Greg Weaver, the Operations Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge for the Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion. "It is designed to focus on particular areas and specific objectives to be evaluated or tested."

The Division has geared its' planning and training efforts in preparation for Warfighter since July 2017. Coordinating transportation for Soldiers and equipment was often on the mind of Maj. David Johansson, the logistics officer for the 34th ID. With the coordination of Johansson and his team, troops and equipment all converged on Camp Atterbury, enlisting the help of 89 railcars, 280 tractor-trailers, and nearly 50 buses for the movement.

"I like to say my job is to 'quiet the noise'". Johansson continued, "The noise being a real life logistical problem that could impede the exercise."



Minnesota-based aviation unit takes part in Warfighter Exercise

Posted: 2018-06-08  11:59 AM
34ECAB WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - More than 150 Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade are here participating in a multi-echelon training event, Warfighter Exercise 18-5, May 30 to June 15.

The exercise, which is part live and part virtual, is testing the St. Paul, Minnesota-based aviation unit's ability to conduct operations and mission command in a high-intensity, complex operating environment. Soldiers are being challenged to take decisive action as they focus on air-ground operations -- or synchronizing and integrating aviation operations into the scheme of maneuver planned and conducted by forces on the ground.

In this case, the units on the ground are being commanded by the Rosemount, Minnesota-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, which is also participating in the exercise.



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