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"It is an honor to be here now and provide the support needed to facilitate the drawdown," said Sgt 1st Class Matthew Gamble, the 1st Platoon Sergeant currently on his second tour in the Middle-East "Historically speaking, we are right in the middle of something big-our footprints will be one of the last made by US forces in Iraq, and looking back 30 or 40 years from now, that is something we will be able to tell our children and grandchildren; We all take great pride in that."
As the number of troops leaving Iraq continues to increase, so too does the amount of equipment they are bringing south to Kuwait with them Delta Company, 1-194 CAB, a unit based out of Saint Cloud, Minn, has been tasked with providing security support for convoys transporting the equipment that troops have used throughout the war into neighboring Kuwait.
"This is no small task," said 1st Lt Christopher Bingham, the 3rd Platoon leader from Sartell, Minn "In the past ten years, there has been a massive amount of equipment collected throughout Iraq, and we want to be sure we bring with us anything serviceable and not waste taxpayer money."
Although the end of the war in Iraq is in sight, the Soldiers recognize the presence of danger still exists Therefore, they continue to remain vigilant and determined to bring everyone home safe.
"The job doesn't end until every last Soldier is back home in the arms of their loved ones," said Capt Ryan Rossman, the Delta Company Commander "What the Soldiers from the 1-194 CAB have done these past four months in Kuwait and Iraq is remarkable, but we will not lose sight of our ultimate goal of returning home with everyone."
At Camp Virginia, a base just south of the Iraqi border, where a majority of the 600-plus Soldiers from the 1-194 CAB are currently stationed, the effects of the troop withdrawal from Iraq are clearly evident Camp Virginia, along with other US bases throughout Kuwait, has received an influx of Soldiers who were previously stationed in Iraq This is because most of the 40,000 troops who were previously in Iraq must pass through Kuwait before they can head home.
However, though the bases in Kuwait may currently be packed with US forces, this likely will not last for long "With most of the units passing through expecting to be home before the holidays, things should slow down around here pretty quick," said Lt Bingham.
Regardless of what is asked of the Drifters, they will continue to perform their duties to the upmost of professionalism that has been displayed thus far throughout the deployment Finally, no Soldier will lose sight of the mission and what needs to be accomplished here Only once have they all boarded the plane home and arrive safely will each them be able to rest peacefully knowing they have done their part to ensure the mission in Iraq is complete.
By 1st Lt Travis Tomford
Unit Public Affairs Representative
1st Brigade Combat Team
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.