| Gates, Casey visit 1-34th BCT at Camp Adder
CAMP ADDER, Iraq - Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen George Casey met Friday with military leaders from US and coalition forces and later held a joint news conference to address recent developments in the Iraq war
The visit to Iraq was Gates' second since replacing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld last month It came in the midst of President George W
Bush's announcement last week to send a surge of 21,500 additional troops to help quell violence and increase security in Baghdad
"Ultimately, our goal is that Iraq can [eventually] defend itself, sustain itself and govern itself," said Gates at the conference
"Whatever one's views are on how we got to this point here in Iraq, at this pivotal moment there is widespread agreement here that failure would be a calamity for American national interests and those of many other countries as well Given what is at stake, failure is not an option"
The current security challenges in Baghdad cannot be dealt with purely by military means, said Gates, referring to the more than 20 countries that are providing "valuable aid and support" in Iraq Gates said he was grateful for their contributions and mentioned seeing the results of their work in the Basra area earlier that morning
"There are instigators of violence who are working against these efforts in Iraq, but many Iraqis recognize this destructive influence and they're taking steps to eliminate it," said Gates "The United States is fully committed to aiding them in this effort"
While at Camp Adder, Gates and Casey also had the opportunity to talk with Col David Elicerio, commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division News that the unit's deployment would be extended for
125 days past its original mid-March homecoming came simultaneously with the announcement of the troop surge, which understandably came as a shock to the Soldiers and their families
"The determination of the men and women in uniform, active and Reserve, has been very successful - and I've seen it firsthand," said Gates "We mustn't forget that each one of these Soldiers has family back home I just hope that Americans won't forget each one of these [Soldiers] and their loved ones"
When asked how the Iraqi government was doing to meet its commitment of creating self-sufficient police and military forces, Casey said, "So far, so good"
"We're seeing them come through on those commitments You're going to see some progress gradually over the next 60 to 90 days," said Casey "I think it's probably going to be the summer, late summer, before we get to the point where the people in Baghdad feel safe in their neighborhoods"
Those commitments, Casey said, include the Iraqi government giving its security forces the authority needed to accomplish the mission, keeping political influence out of the process, not providing safe havens for terrorists, and allowing security forces to prosecute or go after anyone
who breaks the law
When asked to respond to recent comments in which Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said the threat of insurgents has lasted longer than it should have because the US, specifically, has been slow in arming Iraqi forces, Casey said it was important to remember how far that effort has come since 2003
"The training and equipping of the Iraqi military that has taken place over the last three years started from scratch, started from zero - no bases, no units, no equipment," said Casey "At the end of 2006, we completed the building of what we call the objective counterinsurgency - the Iraqi army that we promised three years ago The completion of equipping them will take place throughout 2007"
Gates' overseas tour began in London and continued to NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium and Afghanistan before he arrived in Iraq Wednesday
By Spc Dustin Perry,
1/34th BCT Public Affairs
Entension of the 1st Brigade Combat Team
Officers convene for 112th Meeting of the National Guard Association of Minnesota
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.
Camp Ripley earns top environmental award
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.
Minnesota Guardsman finds work with victims in the military and the local community rewarding
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.
Minnesota National Guard Remembers the Holocaust with Jewish Community Relations Council
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."