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Minnesota National Guard
Earthpigs last convoy

CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - The Second Platoon of Charlie Company, 1/34th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, attached to the 1st Squadron, 94th Cavalry, returned to Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Dec 15 to mark the end of the company's mission into Iraq.

Upon completion of their mission, 10 gun trucks operated by 2nd Platoon Soldiers of Charlie Company, 1/34th BSTB drove into their home station at Camp Buehring, Kuwait.

With orders to go directly to the Armor of God, a large overhang in which pre-mission inspections are completed, the Soldiers cleared their weapons and proceeded down the gravel road As they made their turn, chemical luminescent sticks (chem-sticks) whirled around on strings above the remaining Charlie Company Soldiers' heads that lined the 200-meter path to the overhang Many chem-sticks were thrown onto the trucks, giving them an evergreen glow



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The trucks pulled in and as the Soldiers exited their mine resistant armor protected vehicles they were greeted with handshakes, smiles, and music Each member of the company was afforded one non-alcoholic beverage Some had brought congratulatory cigars.

After some brief socializing, the company commander, Capt Peter DeCrans, called everyone to gather around him DeCrans explained the nature of the celebration to the company.

The return of 2nd Platoon had marked the completion of the company's final convoy escort mission to Iraq The squadron compiled over one million miles and moved thousands of truckloads out of the combat zone The mission was declared a great success and milestone in the history of the unit

After the gathering, the Soldiers lingered a while to exchange stories and enjoy the celebration With much still to do, the returning platoon continued on with their typical after-mission routines of fueling up and parking the trucks, unloading gear, and turning in sensitive items.

With convoy operations completed by Dec 31, the company will look to focus on training for the remainder of the tour Proficiency in weapons, warrior, and military occupation specialty skills will be emphasized

15 Dec, 2011
By 1st Brigade Combat Team




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Mission Complete: Bearcats Finish NATO Exercise in Lithuania's Suwalki Gap

Posted: 2017-06-23  02:56 PM
Air Assault Saber Strike PABRADE, Lithuania - At the sound of 17 U.S. Army rotary wing aircraft humming through the air, Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry, in addition to Service members of five NATO Allied countries, load onto Black Hawk, Chinook and Apache helicopters, at Kazlu Ruda airstrip during the Saber Strike exercise, June 17, 2017. The multinational effort came together to conduct an air and ground assault in the Suwalki Gap to demonstrate the nations' capability to respond to any hostile act of a potential adversary.

"You could tell on everyone's faces that this was go time," said Sgt. Derrick Bruestle, a team leader for 2-136th CAB, also known as the Bearcats. "It wasn't just a training exercise to them anymore, it was a serious mission with real implications on the real world."

The magnitude of the exercise set in as the first bird lifted off the airstrip and started moving toward the objective in a staggered formation. Saber Strike is a U.S. Army Europe-led NATO exercise meant to exhibit a strengthened partnership of the military assets of the NATO Alliance.



Beyond NATO Commitments, MN State Partnership with Croatia Continues to Grow

Posted: 2017-06-22  10:25 AM
Saber Strike SPP PABRADE, Lithuania - Since 1996, the Minnesota National Guard and the Croatian Armed Forces have been partners in the National Guard's State Partnership Program. Beyond the bond of the NATO commitment, a mutual trust and unique bond has been forged amongst the warriors of each respective nation. From Camp Ripley to Karlovac, the soldiers have found a common cause of continuous improvement. Exercise after exercise, there has been a greater appreciation of one another's culture and customs.

You don't have to look to far to see this dynamic. When asked if he had ever worked with Minnesota National Guardsmen before, 1Lt Emanuel Hamer of the Croatian Armed Forces said, "This is my fourth time working with 2-136 "Bearcats," each time we grow closer and stronger. I feel like they are members of my unit. I'm glad I have this opportunity to learn new techniques and share some of our own with the Americans."



7 Nations, 4 Branches, 1 Mission; Saber Strike '17

Posted: 2017-06-20  02:14 PM
Saber Strike 17 PABRADE, Lithuania - As the sun begins to set on the Lithuanian countryside, the final touches are put on the camouflage netting designed to break the silhouette and conceal the position of the Tactical Action Center, or TAC, of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division on June 17, 2017. As part of the multinational exercise of Saber Strike '17, the 1/34th ABCT is providing support to the Air Assault Task Force Commander, Col. Charles Kemper.

As the first ever combined air and ground assault in the annual Saber Strike exercise, this year's exercise has set a milestone in testing the compatibility of seven nations and all military branches.

"We want to reassure all of our NATO Allies that we are in this together," said Kemper. "We're part of the team and we can demonstrate capability."



Minnesota Aviators complete successful eXportable Combat Training Capability exercise

Posted: 2017-06-20  08:30 AM
XCTC FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard's 2-147th Assault Helicopter Battalion wrapped up support for an eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) exercise at Fort Hood, Texas, recently. The unit was part of Task Force Ragnar, the exercise's aviation element, supporting the Tennessee National Guard's 278th Armored Calvary Regiment as they prepare for a rotation to the National Training Center in 2018.

"Our mission is to support a brigade element here," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 John Otremba, with the 2-147. "But I think our ultimate mission is to train for an austere environment which sets us up for success at NTC next year."

The task force conducted aviation support missions including air assault, sling load, deliberate attack, defensive positioning and key leader escorts. They also conducted aviation-specific training in personnel recovery, downed aircraft recovery, field maintenance and air traffic control operations.



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