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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: 2017-03-24 10:19 AM 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.
Posted: 2017-03-23 09:46 AM 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.
Posted: 2017-03-10 08:50 AM 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.
Posted: 2017-03-08 03:29 PM 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.