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Minnesota National Guard
Artillery Soldiers train with live ammo in Kuwait

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

In northern Kuwait, the Minnesota National Guard's 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division took advantage of this unique situation

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



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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




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347th RSG units test unique capabilities during Combined Support Training Exercise

Posted: 2017-08-16  03:35 PM
347 RSG FORT MCCOY, Wisconsin - The 347th Regional Support Group commander and command sergeant major traveled to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, Aug. 15, 2017, to recognize several Soldiers training there.

The 204th Area Medical Support Company, 147th Financial Management Support Detachment and 247th FMSD are all conducting their annual training periods in neighboring Wisconsin, with their own mission-specific exercises that fall under the Combat Support Training Exercise taking place throughout the brigade.

The leadership duo of Col. Lowell Kruse and Command Sgt. Maj. Marcus Erickson began their day with a stop at the 147th FMSD's training area, where they watched Soldiers participate in the Diamond Saber exercise. Throughout the event, the 147th FMSD - a 25-Soldier operation preparing for deployment - is exercising its dispersing, military pay and contracting functions in an interactive environment with actual customers to serve and transactions to process.



500 Minnesota soldiers notified for 2018 deployment

Posted: 2017-08-14  03:54 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2017

ROSEMOUNT, Minn.- More than 500 Soldiers from the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division headquarters have been notified of a possible deployment to Southwest Asia beginning in the fall of 2018.

"The Red Bulls maintain a high level of readiness, and over the next 12 months, our soldiers will train for this mission while also preparing their families and civilian employers here at home," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, 34th Infantry Division commanding general. "The official notification is an important step in the process of building readiness for an overseas deployment."

The planned deployment is expected to last up to one year. The notified units are based in Rosemount, Inver Grove Heights, and Faribault; however, the soldiers hail from 10 different states and the District of Columbia.



347th RSG trains to master tactical, uninterrupted sustainment support

Posted: 2017-08-10  08:14 AM
347 RSG CSTX CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - After three busy days establishing a field command post and integrating units from across the country, the 347th Regional Support Group is underway with a three-week Combat Support Training Exercise during annual training at Camp Ripley.

It began with a Command Post Exercise on Aug. 8, 2017, but it couldn't begin until the tenants of "Tactical Assembly Area Victory" established meal service, sleeping arrangements, shower and laundry accommodations and, of course, the tactical command post.

"We do the exercise to make sure our equipment works, and once that is established we as a staff figure out how to sync together," said Sgt. Maj. Marc Dempsey, logistics operations sergeant major for the 347th RSG. "The exercise is for making sure we as a staff are working together as one team, with everyone knowing their role, for when we go into the main event."



Military kids participate in Minnesota National Guard Youth Camp

Posted: 2017-08-07  02:08 PM
Youth Camp CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Summer camp as a kid and young teen is usually filled with memories of campfires, swimming in the lake and BBQs. Camp Ripley Training Center hosted the Minnesota National Guard Youth Camp (MNGYC) for more than 200 military kids this year. The experience for the military kids who attend the camp relies heavily on donations and nearly 150 volunteers from around the state that come and spend the week with them.

Lindsay Koolmo is a volunteer and the executive director for the MNGYC. She is a military spouse, a volunteer firefighter and a mutations maintenance Tech Sergeant from the 148th Fighter Wing. She has taken upon herself for years to take time off her job and spend hundreds of hours throughout the year and more than two weeks at Camp Ripley to lead the camp.

Her affiliation with the MNGYC started early, in 1992 she was a camper, became a junior counselor, then was a junior counselor and then became an adult counselor.



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