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Minnesota National Guard
The Sun Sets on Operation New Dawn

Camp Buehring, Kuwait— The 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen Martin E Dempsey and his wife Deanie shared a meal and conversation Dec 14, 2011 with members of the Minnesota National Guard’s Brainerd-based 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor (1-194 CAB) 

The night before he flew north to Baghdad to close the final chapter of Operation New Dawn, Gen Dempsey made a point to attend a dinner engagement with a group of Army leaders at a Camp Buehring dining facility  The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff took this opportunity to ask some unit leaders who directly supported the withdrawal plan for some 360 degree feedback 

The 1-194 (CAB) has had a front row seat in history while conducting 790 convoy escort security missions in their Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, traveling more than 12 million combat miles through 11 of Iraq’s 18 provinces  There was one consensus that resonated among the leadership sitting at this table  The sum total of the unit’s success during the draw down phase of Operation New Dawn was carried on the backs of the fine Soldiers that served under them and the professionalism, fortitude and stamina put forth by these Soldiers exceeded expectations



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Gen Dempsey touched on an important theme with these Minnesota National Guard Soldiers on the totality of this deployment  The Battalion Command Sergeant Major for 1-194 CAB, John Lepowsky said, “I agreed with Gen Dempsey that we must capture and fully understand what our unit has done here in a short period of time  We conducted a train-up for Operation New Dawn, supported the final phase of the Iraq War and now we will transition back to training our force during the remaining time we have here in Kuwait” 

As one can imagine, the conversation would not have been complete if these Minnesota Soldiers did not bring up the 10th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the longest serving active duty member in the United States Army, Minnesota native Gen John W Vessey  The new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had many kind words to say about Gen Vessey and mentioned that he has summoned advice from both Gen Vessey and Gen Colin Powell during his first 90-days in office

The dinner with the highest ranking military officer in the United States Armed Forces and principal military adviser to the President will be forever remembered by these Minnesota National Guard Soldiers     

“The unit training plan for the next few months will focus not only on honing specific military occupational skill (MOS) sets that are perishable, but we will get back to the basics and polish other essential leadership skills that get neglected in a steady state of war,” said Lt Col Brian Melton, Battalion Commander, 1-194 (CAB)   

By Capt John M Hobot
Co C, 1-194 AR (CAB)
Commander






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Camp Ripley strikes first before wildfire season

Posted: 2017-03-24  10:19 AM
Controlled burn 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.



Minnesota Guardsman earns recognition through Leads 2 Enlistment program

Posted: 2017-03-23  09:46 AM
Pfc Trevor Nelson 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.



Litchfield and Local Veteran Honor Gen. John Vessey at Armory Open House

Posted: 2017-03-10  08:50 AM
Vessey Bust 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.



Camp Ripley welcomes new command sergeant major

Posted: 2017-03-08  03:29 PM
CSM Erickson 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.



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