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"Earthpig 30" is currently deployed to Camp Buehring, Kuwait in support of Operation New Dawn and will be providing convoy security through the final month of the drawdown in Iraq
Once a Convoy Escort Team crosses the border into Iraq anything can happen Anything from routine breakdowns, to being hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), can happen when a convoy is on the road, "CETs" must prepare for it all "Earthpig 30" is no different
The Soldiers based out of Hutchinson and Redwood Falls, Minn, meet twenty-four hours out from their mission Start Point (SP) time at the maintenance area for their Pre-Combat Checks (PCCs) and Pre-Combat Inspections (PCIs) All their equipment is laid on the floor in neatly matching piles for inspection Truck Commanders (TCs) go through with a checklist making sure each individual Soldier has their equipment in working order After the platoon leader and platoon sergeant inspect Soldiers' equipment, Capt Peter DeCrans, commander of Charlie Company, walks through and does a personal check of everything himself
"After the PCCs and PCIs we get our SP time," said Sgt Mark Weekly, a truck commander (TC) for third squad, first platoon, Charlie Company, 1/34th BSTB
On the day of the mission the trucks of "Earthpig 30" move to the staging lanes to prepare to head out on the mission Prior to leaving, drivers conduct preventive maintenance checks and services (PMCS) to their Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle (MRAP) After doing PMCS on their vehicles, drivers load their MRAP according to a load plan set up by the CET commander prior to mission Every truck has an identical load plan so that in case of an emergency, equipment can be easily accessed without delay
"Earthpig 30" mounts their weapons and meets up with the 233rd Transportation Company, 3rd Sustainment Command, to conduct a safety brief A prayer was said before putting on their body armor and mounting up
Weekly commented, "I do my final inspection before the safety brief to make sure our MRAP's crew serve weapon (a machine gun) is operational and to make sure everything is strapped down"
Shortly after leaving K Crossing, the convoy was brought to a halt for suspicious activity Weekly and another Soldier in the squad investigated the situation They determined that there was no immediate threat and continued the mission to Camp Adder, Iraq
En route to Victory Base Complex (VBC), the convoy was halted by two maintenance emergencies, which set the convoy back several hours
"You have to be prepared with maintenance issues because they will happen from time to time," added Weekly
At K Crossing, the 233rd Transportation Company and the TCNs parted ways with "Earthpig 30" to go through border customs "Earthpig 30" fueled up their MRAPs and did a hasty tire change to move back to Camp Buehring where they off loaded their equipment cleaned their weapons and recuperated
"I think this is something I am going to look back on with mostly good memories, which I am grateful for," said Pvt Garret Denne "I am going to look back and say I was a part of something big; I was with people I trusted and cared about and even if I don't do anything for the rest of my life I know that here, what we're doing now, we are actually accomplishing something that's affecting many people-- American and Iraqi in all sorts of ways"
By Spc Mathew Schlueter
1st Brigade Combat Team
16 Nov, 2011
Posted: 2017-04-28 12:38 PM MANKATO, Minn. - Commissioned leaders of the Minnesota National Guard convened for the 112th General Conference of the National Guard Association of Minnesota at the Verizon Wireless Center and Hilton Garden Inn, Mankato, on April 22, 2017.
The annual gathering of association members - who serve as advocates for the needs of Soldiers, Airmen and their families - includes a business meeting, commanders march, formal dining event and transfer of responsibility to the chapter's new president.
The day's event began with a business meeting, which focused on the association's mission of educating and informing legislators on the issues facing the current and future role of the National Guard in serving Minnesota communities. The strategic planning meeting was attended by Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, his staff and unit commanders.
Posted: 2017-04-26 02:09 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Department of Defense announced that Camp Ripley was selected as the winner of the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation.
The awards recognize individuals, teams and installations for their exceptional environmental achievements and innovative, cost-effective environmental practices.
"The winners' efforts strengthen the Department of Defense's position as a resourceful environmental steward, both at home and abroad, and demonstrate our continued commitment to fulfilling mission needs through advanced environmental practices and technologies," stated James A. MacStravic, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
Posted: 2017-04-26 10:57 AM COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Nicquie Neely has been working with victims of sexual assault for four years in the Minnesota National Guard and also volunteers as a victim advocate in the community. As a victim advocate, it's her job to believe and support victims through a difficult process that can often involve extensive medical care and legal proceedings.
"Ever since I joined the Guard and heard about the SHARP program and learned what a victim advocate was, I always wanted to be one," said Neely. "And then I learned that you had to be an E-6 to be in that position, so the minute I got promoted I asked my commander if I could go to the training."
Neely is a combat medic and the full-time training and administration NCO with Company C, 134th Brigade Support Battalion. In addition to military victim advocate training, Neely also attends regular training with the civilian organization she volunteers for - SOS Sexual Violence Services in Ramsey County.
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."