/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
History
Minnesota National Guard
Driving a draw down

Camp Buehring, Kuwait-- The responsible withdraw of US forces and equipment from Iraq is more than a catchy phase Meeting the goals for the deadline and getting the troops home in a safe responsible way is uppermost in the minds of the troops

Spc Garrett Nelson, a combat engineer for Charlie Company, 1/34th Brigade Special Troops Battalion attached to the 1st Squadron, 94th Cavalry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, put in the role of a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle driver for the duration of 1st BCT's deployment, is very vigilant when performing his duties in the drawn down

"Having to know the lives of all the guys in my truck are in my hands; I am really cautious and careful while driving," said Nelson, a Richfield, Minn native

MRAP vehicles are made with armor to deflect away any explosive ordinances projected toward the vehicle The same armor that makes these vehicles safe in ambushes or roadside bombing also makes them up to two thousand pounds heavier



Download photos

As a driver trainer, Nelson knows that the added weight can change the dynamics of handling when braking with air bakes, which he describes to all his trainees

"I make sure I explain the breaks well because a lot of people have never driven with air brakes," said Nelson "They're really touchy especially around turns; you have to slow down to be careful"

Although safety precautions need to be met at every corner while operating an MRAP, Nelson feels more experienced with every mile

"Training my fellow Soldiers behind the wheel gave me a lot more miles while training," said Nelson "It definitely helps you know your job in-depth having to train other people"

As Spc Nelson vigilantly carries out his mission in Operation New Dawn, other Soldiers benefit from his expertise

"Watching him drive mission after mission, I think I've gotten the hang of it--I've gotten a lot better driving the MRAP," said Spc Anthony Hendren, a combat engineer assigned as an MRAP gunner

Nelson has been in the Minnesota National Guard for almost five and a half years and said the military has always been something he was fascinated by

"I've been interested in the military ever since I was younger--when I saw Soldiers I knew that was what I was going to be in the future" said Nelson "I've always looked up to Soldiers"

He enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard the summer after his junior year at Southwest High School in Minneapolis, Minn

"Once I got close to graduating from high school, I knew I needed some extra help for college and for the future--that was a definite plus to joining," said Nelson

Nelson enlisted before meeting his wife  However, she is just as supportive as any military wife Nelson and his wife were married in April of this year Although both of them knew the deployment was coming, it hasn't made it any easier on the two of them

"It kind of got tough when she found out she was pregnant, knowing that I would be gone during our son's first nine months of his life and even be gone while she was in her late stages of pregnancy--that was pretty rough on her," said Nelson

Their son was born on July 21st, just a few days before Charlie Company departed Fort McCoy to leave for Kuwait
"It was tough being in the United States and never being able to see him," said Nelson

He was given the opportunity to go home on leave Oct 17, where he was able to see his son turn 3 months old

"Those couple of months not being able to see him were kind of hard, but taking leave to go see him really helped," said Nelson

Nelson commented that his family is what drives him do his job well

"I think about my family a lot while I'm driving--that's one thing that helps keep me alert and focused," said Nelson "Knowing that, that's what I want to go back home to--so you have to stay awake, be vigilant and be aware"

As hard as it is to be away from his family, his peers respect him

"The biggest lesson I've learned from Nelson is to be more responsible--obviously he's already an adult and responsible, but he is becoming a leader and he takes ownership for his actions," said Hendren

With the current deployment almost halfway over for the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Spc Nelson is pleased to call himself a "Red Bull"

"I'm proud to be a Minnesota National Guardsman, just with the huge role we've played over here in Iraq, especially with the numerous amounts of Soldiers Minnesota has deployed to Iraq," said Nelson "Our company alone, on the brigades last deployment over here, set so many records "It's a real honor to be a part of the draw down"

By Cpl Trisha Betz
1st Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
20 Nov, 2011






Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Operation Future Warrior, rain or shine

Posted: 2017-05-24  01:12 PM
Operation Future Warrior More than 900 recruits from the Minnesota National Guard came to Camp Ripley Friday through Sunday for Operation Future Warrior.

Young men and women who volunteered to join the Minnesota Army National Guard got to experience a small taste of basic training and military training during the three-day event.

"The intent of Operation Future Warrior is removing the mystery of the training recruits will experience when attending Basic Combat and Advance Individualized Training," said Lt. Col. Eduardo Suarez, recruiting and retention battalion commander.



St. Paul-based Combat Aviation Brigade welcomes new senior enlisted leader

Posted: 2017-05-23  08:03 AM
Hellkamp ARDEN HILLS, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade welcomed a new senior enlisted leader during a change of responsibility ceremony, May 21, 2017, at the Arden Hills Army Training Site.

Command Sgt. Maj. Mitchell Hellkamp assumed duties as the unit's senior noncommissioned officer (NCO) from Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Cunnien, who served in the position for the past two years and will be retiring from the military later this year.

"Command Sgt. Maj. Cunnien is one of the finest leaders that I have worked with in my career," said Col. Shawn Manke, commander of the 34th CAB. "He sets the example for all noncommissioned officers and Soldiers to emulate. He is a true professional, as a visible leader and teacher for the Soldiers of the combat aviation brigade. We're grateful for his many years of service, and we wish him well as he closes out his military career and enters the next chapter in his life."



Families recognized for sacrifices during Guard deployment

Posted: 2017-05-22  10:57 AM
Welcome Home ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Soldiers of B Co., 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion were welcomed home May 20, 2017, at the River's Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota. During the ceremony, families were recognized for their sacrifices during the year-long deployment.

"I often tell Soldiers and truly believe that as hard as our jobs are at times, our families have the harder job at home," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, commander of the 2-147 Assault Helicopter Battalion. "Because Army family members have a unique burden that many of their friends and families cannot understand, they form family readiness groups, or FRGs, to share information and provide support to one another."

The company's FRG leader, Rhiannon Knutson, wife of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Tom Knutson, was in constant contact with the unit's families and went above and beyond what is normally expected of FRG leaders, said the unit's readiness non-commissioned officer, Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wood.



Camp Ripley's Training Support Unit keeps the base running

Posted: 2017-05-16  12:41 PM
Camp Ripley CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Camp Ripley Training Support Unit is designated to the care, upkeep and assistance to the installation and those utilizing the facility.

"The Training Support Unit's (TSU) primary focus is to support unit training requirements and ensure smooth operations here on Camp Ripley and the Arden Hills Army Training Site in the metro," said Sgt. 1st Class Terry Clabo, Training Support Unit Readiness NCO.

Camp Ripley features numerous ranges and state-of-the-art training facilities to support military, law enforcement, first responder and inter-agency partner training requirements. The installation is structured to have a full complement of automated small arms and large caliber weapon ranges as well as several specialized training facilities.



Article archive
 
top