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Minnesota National Guard
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
1/19/07
Entension of the 1st Brigade Combat Team



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Minnesota National Guard leaders visit traveling tribute in Austin

Posted: 2018-05-22  10:16 AM
Traveling Wall AUSTIN, Minn. - A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was on display May 16-20, in Austin and leaders of the 347th Regional Support Group took the opportunity to visit during the event's closing ceremony.

The display, dubbed the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, was hosted by Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Austin and featured a near-replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C.

"It was an honor to be part of this humbling and moving tribute to our Vietnam veterans," said Col. Stephen Schemenauer. "The traveling Vietnam Wall is a powerful display, and this event provided an opportunity to meet, and thank, service members from WWII to present-day conflicts. Regardless of their branch of service, or the era or conflict in which they served, we all share a common bond."



Minnesota Aviators lead multi-state National Guard partnership for NTC rotation

Posted: 2018-05-21  03:51 PM
2-147 NTC FORT IRWIN, Calif. - The Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion is working together with aviation units from four different states to provide support to the Tennessee-based 278th Armored Calvary Regiment during a rotation at National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.

Making up Task Force Ragnar is Utah-based B Company, 1st Battalion, 211th Assault Reconnaissance Battalion; Nevada-based B Company, 1-189th General Support Aviation Battalion; Michigan-based C Company, 3-238th GSAB; and Minnesota-based A, D, E and Headquarters Companies, 2-147th AHB and F Company, 1-189th GSAB.

"Early coordination with the units across four states combined with exceptional unit leadership and motivated Soldiers helped us to quickly build the task force when we closed on Fort Irwin," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, Task Force Commander. "I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and teamwork of task force Soldiers. This was an outstanding training opportunity that challenged every Soldier to grow as individuals and units daily."



Deployed Minnesota Guardsman honors grandfather, Hmong heritage

Posted: 2018-05-17  09:57 AM
Brandon Xiong CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - "My heritage is Hmong," said 21 year-old Minnesota National Guard Spec. Brandon Xiong from his desk at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. "A low-key culture that originated from southern Asia. Hmong is not a place, but it is a people."

Xiong, the eldest grandson of the late Col. Song Leng Xiong, is deployed in Kuwait as an information technician for Area Support Group - Kuwait.

"We were not nomadic, but have been in many different conflicts," said Xiong. "Many places I go, I am questioned about my nationality and when answered, end up being even more confused. There is a movie called, "Gran Torino", where Clint Eastwood is introduced to the Hmong culture and I think it portrays the Hmong people not so terribly."



Month of the Military Child recognizes contributions of military kids

Posted: 2018-04-07  01:54 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The month of April is designated as the Month of the Military Child to recognize the contributions and sacrifices military children make so their family members can serve. An estimated 15,000 children in Minnesota have been affected by the deployment of a parent.

"Military children bear a lot while their family members serve," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "It is up to us to support these resilient kids and help to lessen their burden."

An event to honor military kids in Minnesota will take place April 13, 2018, at the Mall of America rotunda from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Activities will include appearances by the Teddy Bear Band and meet and greets with Nickelodeon characters.



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