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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: 2017-04-28 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."