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Minnesota National Guard
Paving the way home

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait " Keeping the lights on, repairing sidewalks, moving barriers, and maintaining the grounds of Zone 6 is only part of the Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team's small maintenance section's mission

In addition to being the Zone 6 "maintainers", the team of ten also does their primary military specialty of vehicle maintenance They had no idea what was ahead when they arrived to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait in July 2011

Since their arrival, they have applied their civilian and military experience to the upkeep of Zone 6 at Camp Arifjan, the housing area for thousands of tenants Safety is a priority for the battalion commander, Lt Col Gary Mundfrom and the maintenance section has exceeded his expectations



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Daily operations of the maintenance section include turning on over 100 generator light sets before dusk and turning them off at dawn, maintain, order and stock the water points, and respond to all grounds issues and requests made by over 60 tenant units in Zone 6

"It may be a thankless job, but someone has to do it and it keeps the Soldiers safe," said Sgt Paulino Rodriguez, Hastings, Minn

The section is also the point of contact for ordering military vehicle parts for all the battalions in the brigade Ordering the parts and maintaining the forklifts, Gators, ATV's, Rangers, Bobcats, fixing thousands of meters of sidewalks and painting new signs is nothing short of a daily challenge

The maintenance section has also recently lent a hand to fellow Soldiers at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, by transporting 30 generator light sets to accommodate their sudden overflow of troops assisting the drawdown in Iraq

"It's good to learn how to do many different things, we can bring those back with us upon returning from deployment to our civilian jobs," said Staff Sgt Joseph Schwartz of Ramsey, Minn "We moved an entire generator farm from one location to another with forklifts!"

These are just some of the many projects the maintenance section has completed with many more to come including condensing the size of Camp Arifjan, Zone 6 before the brigades departure in the spring of 2012

Story by Sgt 1st Class Brittany Thingvold
1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Red Bull Infantry Division





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Posted: 2017-05-24  01:12 PM
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Young men and women who volunteered to join the Minnesota Army National Guard got to experience a small taste of basic training and military training during the three-day event.

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Posted: 2017-05-23  08:03 AM
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Command Sgt. Maj. Mitchell Hellkamp assumed duties as the unit's senior noncommissioned officer (NCO) from Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Cunnien, who served in the position for the past two years and will be retiring from the military later this year.

"Command Sgt. Maj. Cunnien is one of the finest leaders that I have worked with in my career," said Col. Shawn Manke, commander of the 34th CAB. "He sets the example for all noncommissioned officers and Soldiers to emulate. He is a true professional, as a visible leader and teacher for the Soldiers of the combat aviation brigade. We're grateful for his many years of service, and we wish him well as he closes out his military career and enters the next chapter in his life."



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Posted: 2017-05-22  10:57 AM
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"I often tell Soldiers and truly believe that as hard as our jobs are at times, our families have the harder job at home," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, commander of the 2-147 Assault Helicopter Battalion. "Because Army family members have a unique burden that many of their friends and families cannot understand, they form family readiness groups, or FRGs, to share information and provide support to one another."

The company's FRG leader, Rhiannon Knutson, wife of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Tom Knutson, was in constant contact with the unit's families and went above and beyond what is normally expected of FRG leaders, said the unit's readiness non-commissioned officer, Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wood.



Camp Ripley's Training Support Unit keeps the base running

Posted: 2017-05-16  12:41 PM
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"The Training Support Unit's (TSU) primary focus is to support unit training requirements and ensure smooth operations here on Camp Ripley and the Arden Hills Army Training Site in the metro," said Sgt. 1st Class Terry Clabo, Training Support Unit Readiness NCO.

Camp Ripley features numerous ranges and state-of-the-art training facilities to support military, law enforcement, first responder and inter-agency partner training requirements. The installation is structured to have a full complement of automated small arms and large caliber weapon ranges as well as several specialized training facilities.



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