| Soldiers in Kuwait will act as response force
15,000 are staying in the tiny country, at least for now
By Michelle Tan - Staff writer
Posted : Saturday Jan 14, 2012 8:39:16 EST
Nearly 15,000 soldiers are now deployed to Kuwait — including two brigade combat teams and a combat aviation brigade — as the mission there evolves and the U.S. works to maintain a combat-capable presence in the unstable region.
“This is a larger contingent than we’ve typically had,” a senior Army official, who spoke on background, told Army Times.
“Working with the Kuwaitis to have a U.S. presence there is very helpful as far as general regional security is concerned,” the official said.
What remains to be seen is whether troop levels, particularly among the combat units, will remain in the long term.
In November, after the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq was announced and officials were trying to determine whether some forces should remain in the region, the defense minister for Kuwait was quoted as saying the Arab state would only be used as a transit point for troops.
A military official told Army Times that it’s likely the U.S. will have a “continued presence in Kuwait, similar to before 2003.”
Details of that presence — the number of troops and their makeup — are still in negotiations with the Kuwaiti government, said the official, who asked to remain anonymous.
For years, Kuwait has been the primary hub for troops moving in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and most of the troops there were merely transiting through on their way to war or back home.
“What we had in the past, we had forces to provide security as we rotated units in and out of theater,” the official said. “The forces [in Kuwait] at the time had the administrative function of in-processing and out-processing and the security of those forces. In the past we didn’t leave combat units in Kuwait.”
Now, the U.S. has forces in Kuwait that are capable of responding to contingencies if needed, the official said.
“The mission of Kuwait at the beginning, it was a staging area, a [reception, staging, onward movement and integration] station,” the official said. “Now it’s a platform, a final destination, so to speak, for contingency forces that can be used in the [Central Command] theater.”
As of Jan. 5, soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, of Fort Hood, Texas, and 1st BCT, 34th Infantry Division, of the Minnesota National Guard were the two primary brigade-sized units deployed to Kuwait. In addition, the 29th Combat Aviation Brigade from the Maryland National Guard also is in Kuwait, moving there after serving as the last CAB in Iraq.
The 1st Cavalry Division brigade moved to Kuwait after serving the first half of its tour in Iraq and will remain in Kuwait until it completes a 12-month deployment this summer.
The brigade will serve as the mobile response force in the Central Command area of responsibility, 1st Lt. Kelly McManus, spokeswoman for 1st BCT, 1st Cavalry Division, wrote in an email to Army Times.
“We will operate with our standard equipment and in doing so provide a force that is both immediately available and augments a joint team that stands as a strong deterrent against those who wish to harm the U.S. and/or its allies,” McManus said.
In Kuwait, the soldiers will have the opportunity to train in one of the “most permissive training environments anywhere in the world and under some of the hardest conditions,” she said.
Activities will include training, exercises and partnering with military allies in the region, she said.
The brigade’s mission changed twice before soldiers learned the brigade had been tapped to remain in Kuwait after the Iraq withdrawal was complete, McManus said.
“Upon receiving notification that we were going to continue our one-year deployment in Kuwait, the chain of command immediately reinstated R&R [rest and recuperation] at an accelerated rate in order to ensure that all soldiers will have the opportunity to take their two-week leave,” she said. “In fact, we were allowed to send more than usually allowed home over the holidays.”
Soldiers from 1st BCT, 34th Infantry Division, were sent to Kuwait to perform a security force mission and provide security for U.S. troops during the withdrawal from Iraq.
The soldiers, who mobilized in May, are expected to return home in the spring.
The aviation soldiers, who were mobilized in August and are scheduled to come home this summer, will focus on training and partnership-building activities with countries in the region during their time in Kuwait.
“The initial purpose for them was to provide security as we were pulling back units in Iraq,” the senior Army official said. “Now [all three units] are a contingency force, a strategic reserve. They do provide a capable force that could be used elsewhere if necessary.”
In the near future, at least one more major unit is headed to Kuwait.
The New York Guard’s 27th Brigade Combat Team, which had been called to deploy to Afghanistan, will deploy to Kuwait instead.
Commanders in Afghanistan determined they did not need the brigade there because of the ongoing drawdown of troops.
About 1,800 soldiers from New York and about 300 soldiers from South Carolina will deploy, New York Guard officials said. The soldiers are scheduled to mobilize later this month and train at Camp Shelby, Miss., before deploying to Kuwait.
While deployed, the soldiers will perform a security force mission.
Preparation proves key when it comes to the Warfighter
Posted: 2015-04-18 05:47 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Seemingly endless hours and meticulous planning become the norm after more than a week of exhaustive preparation by the Soldiers of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team preparing for a brigade Warfighter exercise at Camp Ripley Training Center.
"This is a tempo that we typically don't operate at," said 1st Lt. Paul Modeen, the brigade assistant operations officer. "From day one, when our advance party arrived to begin setting up our mission command post, we have been going full speed."
After two days of constructing the elaborate tent structure, networking dozens of work stations and establishing a perimeter to simulate working in a tactical environment, brigade staff began the intensive planning that goes into major military operations. Even before the Warfighter exercise was set to begin, hundreds of brigade Soldiers began working through the Army's strategy for large-scale project management, the Military Decision Making Process.
The Minnesota National Guard hosts its first Joint Female Professional Development Training Symposium
Posted: 2015-04-16 05:26 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2015
ST. PAUL, Minn.-
More than 300 hundred Minnesota National Guard women will gather together for the first Joint Female Professional Development Training Symposium at Metropolitan State University on April 18, 2015.
"The day is going to be packed full of growth and development opportunities for skills advancement, communication/networking, career mapping, being a leader and competing in the arena," said Lt. Col. Barb Pazdernik, event coordinator.
Approximately 20 percent of Minnesota National Guard soldiers and airmen are women. With more than 13,000 members, it's no secret that more males are in leadership positions - but solutions are in place to change that.
Minnesota 'Purples Up' for Military Children
Posted: 2015-04-15 03:00 PM
Since 1986, the Department of Defense has celebrated April as the "Month of the Military Child", a recognition of the courage of and sacrifices made by children of military parents. More than 1.7 million American children under the age of 18 have at least one parent serving in the military many of whom have deployed several times.
"Month of the Military Child is great here in Minnesota," said the Minnesota National Guard's Family Programs Director Army Capt. Marian Belinski during a recent interview on Minnesota Military Radio. "We have phenomenal support from the government officials to our military leadership and the community in general."
Statewide Joining Community Forces - Minnesota events provide support for communities and military
Posted: 2015-04-14 08:53 AM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - "Each year Joining Community Forces events strengthen the synchronization of effort across the state in sharing resources and building partnerships in support of military-connected residents." said Minnesota National Guard Director of Military Outreach, Annette Kuyper.
Registration closes Wednesday, April 15, for both afternoon and evening meetings that are scheduled for Albert Lea on April 23; Alexandria on April 30; Willmar on May 7; Cloquet on May 14; and Richfield on May 20.
"These meetings are important to the Yellow Ribbon Networks because it allows them to learn about how other communities are connecting with Service members, veterans and military families as well as how to connect with resources they can tap into to support them," said Kuyper.