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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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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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