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Minnesota National Guard
U of M coach Robinson tours Kuwait thanking Red Bulls

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Developing his answers to the tests of life, Coach J Robinson wanted to share them with Soldiers of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division as a way to say thank you to Red Bull Soldiers who are currently deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation New Dawn

Robinson arrived in Kuwait Sept 27 for an eight-day tour While in Kuwait, he visited all the major bases and spoke with over 800 troops

In the last ten years, his wife divorced him, he lost a job, along with a very large sum of money in the stock market and to top it all off, this man had 57 surgeries conducted on his body just so he can function like you and I

With all the difficulties he has faced you would never think that he would have accomplished the things he has in life to include: 1972 Olympian, national Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee, captain in the US Army, Vietnam veteran, honor graduate in Army Ranger School, an Instructor at the West Point, four time National Freestyle and Greco Wrestling Champion, two time National Collegiate Athletic Association National Coach of the Year, four time Assistant Olympic Wrestling Team Coach, three time NCAA Division I Champion, six time Big Ten Champion, six time Big Ten Coach of the Year and he is currently in his 25th season of coaching wrestling at the University of Minnesota



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"Coming here, I just wanted to say thank you to the troops and let them know that people do care about them and the job they're doing here," said Robinson "It's little to ask for what they do for us"

During his tour he visited Minnesota National Guard troops stationed in bases and camps all over the country of Kuwait, to include Minnesota Air Guardsmen He provided motivational speeches and combatives clinics for any of the troops who could attend

"It's really great to know that we have support back in Minnesota and anybody willing to come here is absolutely amazing," said Spc Tracy L White, an Emergency Operation Center assistant for the 134th Brigade Support Battalion currently sustaining the Life Support Area

White added, "To see Robinson, a Minnesotan, coming here to speak and motivate us as we continue in our endeavors that do get long, speaks miles to his character"

Though life was still a far cry from being easy for him, he stayed focused on his goals and the missions the Army presented him with as a commissioned officer

"There are a lot of things I learned as a young man dealing in the Army that was transferred over into other areas of my life," commented Robinson

Robinson's time in the US Army helped him clearly define the difference between a goal and a mission Knowing this, Robinson was more than prepared to share his first hand knowledge with Minnesota troops

"The difference between a goal and a mission is you have goals and a lot of people don't reach their goals, but as a Soldier you're given a mission and you have no choice but to get it done," said Robinson

All Soldiers have missions during the deployment and many will set personal goals Coach helped some by giving them the skills to reach their goals during the deployment

"I've learned from Coach Robinson that it's not always knowledge that will get you far in life - it's following through and doing the hard work that needs to be done," said White

"You've been given this day to use, as you will; it's important what you do with it because you're exchanging one day of your life for it," said Robinson "Wherever you are, be there"

8 Oct, 2011
Story and photos by Spc Trisha Betz
1st Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs







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Mission Complete: Bearcats Finish NATO Exercise in Lithuania's Suwalki Gap

Posted: 2017-06-23  02:56 PM
Air Assault Saber Strike PABRADE, Lithuania - At the sound of 17 U.S. Army rotary wing aircraft humming through the air, Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry, in addition to Service members of five NATO Allied countries, load onto Black Hawk, Chinook and Apache helicopters, at Kazlu Ruda airstrip during the Saber Strike exercise, June 17, 2017. The multinational effort came together to conduct an air and ground assault in the Suwalki Gap to demonstrate the nations' capability to respond to any hostile act of a potential adversary.

"You could tell on everyone's faces that this was go time," said Sgt. Derrick Bruestle, a team leader for 2-136th CAB, also known as the Bearcats. "It wasn't just a training exercise to them anymore, it was a serious mission with real implications on the real world."

The magnitude of the exercise set in as the first bird lifted off the airstrip and started moving toward the objective in a staggered formation. Saber Strike is a U.S. Army Europe-led NATO exercise meant to exhibit a strengthened partnership of the military assets of the NATO Alliance.



Beyond NATO Commitments, MN State Partnership with Croatia Continues to Grow

Posted: 2017-06-22  10:25 AM
Saber Strike SPP PABRADE, Lithuania - Since 1996, the Minnesota National Guard and the Croatian Armed Forces have been partners in the National Guard's State Partnership Program. Beyond the bond of the NATO commitment, a mutual trust and unique bond has been forged amongst the warriors of each respective nation. From Camp Ripley to Karlovac, the soldiers have found a common cause of continuous improvement. Exercise after exercise, there has been a greater appreciation of one another's culture and customs.

You don't have to look to far to see this dynamic. When asked if he had ever worked with Minnesota National Guardsmen before, 1Lt Emanuel Hamer of the Croatian Armed Forces said, "This is my fourth time working with 2-136 "Bearcats," each time we grow closer and stronger. I feel like they are members of my unit. I'm glad I have this opportunity to learn new techniques and share some of our own with the Americans."



7 Nations, 4 Branches, 1 Mission; Saber Strike '17

Posted: 2017-06-20  02:14 PM
Saber Strike 17 PABRADE, Lithuania - As the sun begins to set on the Lithuanian countryside, the final touches are put on the camouflage netting designed to break the silhouette and conceal the position of the Tactical Action Center, or TAC, of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division on June 17, 2017. As part of the multinational exercise of Saber Strike '17, the 1/34th ABCT is providing support to the Air Assault Task Force Commander, Col. Charles Kemper.

As the first ever combined air and ground assault in the annual Saber Strike exercise, this year's exercise has set a milestone in testing the compatibility of seven nations and all military branches.

"We want to reassure all of our NATO Allies that we are in this together," said Kemper. "We're part of the team and we can demonstrate capability."



Minnesota Aviators complete successful eXportable Combat Training Capability exercise

Posted: 2017-06-20  08:30 AM
XCTC FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard's 2-147th Assault Helicopter Battalion wrapped up support for an eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) exercise at Fort Hood, Texas, recently. The unit was part of Task Force Ragnar, the exercise's aviation element, supporting the Tennessee National Guard's 278th Armored Calvary Regiment as they prepare for a rotation to the National Training Center in 2018.

"Our mission is to support a brigade element here," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 John Otremba, with the 2-147. "But I think our ultimate mission is to train for an austere environment which sets us up for success at NTC next year."

The task force conducted aviation support missions including air assault, sling load, deliberate attack, defensive positioning and key leader escorts. They also conducted aviation-specific training in personnel recovery, downed aircraft recovery, field maintenance and air traffic control operations.



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