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NORTHERN KUWAIT, Kuwait - With the drawdown of US forces in Iraq complete, Soldiers from throughout the Army are getting the opportunity to participate in training that is difficult to conduct back in the states
Soldiers participated in crew qualification on the M109A6 Paladin, a self-propelled, tracked artillery vehicle with a 155-millimeter cannon that is capable of launching artillery shells upwards of ten miles through the guidance of an on board computer system
The unit trains at Camp Ripley, Minn, during their weekend drills, but the resources to conduct training of this magnitude are scarce
Since they arrived in Kuwait, the 1-125 FA has been providing security at Camp Patriot, Kuwait, where training on field artillery weapons like the Paladin is impossible
Fortunately the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division's 1-82 Field Artillery out of Fort Hood, Texas, acquired Paladins in Kuwait after being reassigned to 3rd Army after the drawdown of US forces and equipment in Iraq
Third Army, a higher headquarters unit for the 1-125 FA, tasked the 1-82 FA with training field artillery units like the 1-125 FA in crew qualification
"To get a chance, in a combat theater like this, to shoot artillery is a once in a lifetime experience for all these guys and we're really excited to be out here," said 1-125 FA Capt Casey Vulcan, a native of New Brighton, Minn
The crew consists of a four-man team The chief oversees the crew, a driver, a number one man, who loads the shell, and gunner to load the composition B powder that propels the shell and verifies all the information in the computer is correct, ensuring the round lands where it is supposed to before pulling the lanyard that fires the primer and launches the round
"Absolutely, it's the best job in the gun," remarked gunner Spc Alex Scarset, a native of Minneapolis, Minn
The crew receives coordinates for the computer from forward observers who are located miles away, tracking the impact and placement of the Paladin rounds
The importance and uniqueness of this training is not lost on crew chief Sgt Micha Pohlman from Rushmore, Minn
"For most of us, it's been two and a half years or more since we've actually fired, so it's a nice refresher-it's kind of exciting to get in the gun again and do the whole process"
These Soldiers will bring this valuable training experience back to Minnesota when the 1-125 FA returns home later this spring
16 Feb, 2012
Story and photos by Spc Bob Brown
1/34th BCT Public Affairs
Posted: 2017-04-28 12:38 PM MANKATO, Minn. - Commissioned leaders of the Minnesota National Guard convened for the 112th General Conference of the National Guard Association of Minnesota at the Verizon Wireless Center and Hilton Garden Inn, Mankato, on April 22, 2017.
The annual gathering of association members - who serve as advocates for the needs of Soldiers, Airmen and their families - includes a business meeting, commanders march, formal dining event and transfer of responsibility to the chapter's new president.
The day's event began with a business meeting, which focused on the association's mission of educating and informing legislators on the issues facing the current and future role of the National Guard in serving Minnesota communities. The strategic planning meeting was attended by Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, his staff and unit commanders.
Posted: 2017-04-26 02:09 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Department of Defense announced that Camp Ripley was selected as the winner of the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation.
The awards recognize individuals, teams and installations for their exceptional environmental achievements and innovative, cost-effective environmental practices.
"The winners' efforts strengthen the Department of Defense's position as a resourceful environmental steward, both at home and abroad, and demonstrate our continued commitment to fulfilling mission needs through advanced environmental practices and technologies," stated James A. MacStravic, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
Posted: 2017-04-26 10:57 AM COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Nicquie Neely has been working with victims of sexual assault for four years in the Minnesota National Guard and also volunteers as a victim advocate in the community. As a victim advocate, it's her job to believe and support victims through a difficult process that can often involve extensive medical care and legal proceedings.
"Ever since I joined the Guard and heard about the SHARP program and learned what a victim advocate was, I always wanted to be one," said Neely. "And then I learned that you had to be an E-6 to be in that position, so the minute I got promoted I asked my commander if I could go to the training."
Neely is a combat medic and the full-time training and administration NCO with Company C, 134th Brigade Support Battalion. In addition to military victim advocate training, Neely also attends regular training with the civilian organization she volunteers for - SOS Sexual Violence Services in Ramsey County.
Posted: 2017-04-24 10:43 AM Washington - Members of the Minnesota National Guard and the Air Force Reserve traveled to Washington D.C. with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (also known as the JCRC), to visit the Holocaust Museum, April 4, 2017, to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Also, traveling with this group were St. Paul and Minneapolis police officers along with students from various high schools around the state. For those in uniform that day, it was an opportunity to see, hear and experience the stories of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
Each Service member who attended was asked to bring back a summary of their experience in the form of a presentation, professional discussion or briefing to their respective unit in order to help other Guard members better understand and remember that horrible event, to honor the courage of the victims and survivors, and to remain vigilant as members of the U.S. military.
"The honor and privilege of accompanying members of the Minnesota National Guard to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. met so many goals," said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the JCRC. "I wanted to reinforce the importance of the commitment of the U.S. military to democracy. After all, it was the Allies that defeated Nazi Germany and ultimately put an end to the Holocaust."