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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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Camp Ripley strikes first before wildfire season

Posted: 2017-03-24  10:19 AM
Controlled burn CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Every spring Camp Ripley begins its annual controlled burn program to help reduce the risk of wildfire during training.

"Usually the burns are completed every spring before the summer annual training season begins," said Tim Notch, training area coordinator on Camp Ripley. "However, the warmer weather conditions provide a nice opportunity for preventative burns earlier this season."

As in years past Camp Ripley will conduct controlled burns on approximately 13,000 acres of the 53,000-acre military reservation. The burns are done in coordination with the staffs of the Camp Ripley Department of Public Works and the Camp Ripley Environmental Department along with support from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.



Minnesota Guardsman earns recognition through Leads 2 Enlistment program

Posted: 2017-03-23  09:46 AM
Pfc Trevor Nelson DULUTH, Minn. - Pfc. Trevor Nelson received the Minnesota Distinguished Recruiting Ribbon and a Minnesota Recruiting and Retention Battalion medallion for excellence from Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Serbus, March 18, 2017, at the Duluth Armory. Nelson earned these awards as part of the online referral system, Leads 2 Enlistment for referring four friends who have joined the Minnesota National Guard.

"I talked to some buddies in my school about the Guard. They liked the benefits, so I put their info in the app and let my recruiter take over." said Nelson. "I thought it would be fun to serve with friends and help them figure out their path in life."

Nelson is currently a senior at Cloquet Senior High School and assigned to the Recruit Sustainment Program in Duluth. He attended basic training at Fort Benning in the summer of 2016 with follow-on training in the summer of 2017 to become an infantryman.



Litchfield and Local Veteran Honor Gen. John Vessey at Armory Open House

Posted: 2017-03-10  08:50 AM
Vessey Bust LITCHFIELD, Minn. -Bruce Cottington, a Navy veteran of WWII and Korea, donated a bronze bust of Gen. John W. Vessey, Jr. to the Litchfield National Guard unit during the armory's public open house event March 4. Cottington, a Litchfield resident, commands the Minnesota Chapter of the Veterans of Underage Military Service. VUMS members enlisted in the military prior to the minimum age requirement in order to serve their country during WWII. Cottington received the bust from Vessey, a fellow VUMS member. Both enlisted in the military at the age of 16.

The highlight of the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion open house was the unveiling of the sculpture. The unit was very supportive when Cottington proposed donating the sculpture. The Litchfield community has always been very supportive of the National Guard over the years, so the open house was a chance to say 'thanks' to their neighbors. "This was a great opportunity to honor Bruce and to honor Gen. Vessey," said B Co., 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion Commander, Capt. Seth Goreham. Bravo Company also has a tight relationship with the local American Legion and VFW. Many Litchfield citizens are former members of Bravo Company, or the unit's predecessors A Co, 682nd Engineer Battalion, and the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company.



Camp Ripley welcomes new command sergeant major

Posted: 2017-03-08  03:29 PM
CSM Erickson CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The garrison command team of Camp Ripley, family, friends and colleagues from the Minnesota National Guard attended a Change of Responsibility ceremony between Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Worden and Command Sgt. Maj. Matt Erickson, March 5, 2017, at Camp Ripley.

The ceremony was an official "passing of the sword" from one senior noncommissioned officer to the next and assumption of the duties and responsibilities that go along with the position of Garrison Command Sergeant Major.

As with many military ceremonies those in attendance welcomed Erickson as a new member of the team and bid farewell, recognized and thanked Worden for his service.



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