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Lt Col Troy Soukup, commander, 1st BN, 125th FA, listed artillery training as one of his top goals while his Soldiers performed security force missions across southern Kuwait in order to maintain proficiency in their military occupational specialties After months of preparation and planning, this goal was accomplished with the help of the 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division
The 1st Bn, 125th FA deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in July 2011 The battalion’s missions included providing security for Camp Patriot, Kuwait Naval Base (KNB) and the Seaport of Debarkation/Embarkation; providing quick reaction forces at Camp Patriot, KNB, and Camp Arifjan; providing an area reaction force for southern Kuwait; and providing the camp command cell for Camp Patriot None of these missions are standard for a field artillery battalion “As artillerymen, it is our goal to prove our capabilities not only as a maneuver task force, but to do what we Red Legs are meant to do—fire howitzers,” said Lt Col Soukup
The artillery training was conducted at Camp Buehring in two iterations—the first from February 1 to February 8, 2012, and the second from February 10 to February 17, 2012 The 1st BN, 82nd FA, an active duty unit deployed to Camp Buehring, provided the training Soldiers from the 1st BN, 125th FA spent the first three days of the iterations in the classroom brushing up on their artillery knowledge, primarily focused on safety, and completing a test that required 90 percent or greater to pass The next two days were spent on the guns and in the fire direction centers (FDC) practicing dry-fire missions to familiarize the Soldiers with crew drills The sixth day consisted of the Table V dry-fire certification for the gun and FDC crews
During this certification, Master Sgt Aaron Wilfahrt, master gunner, 1st BN, 125th FA; 1st Sgt Robert Newman, first sergeant, A Battery, 1st BN, 125th FA; 1st Sgt George Jensen, 1st sergeant, B Battery, 1st BN, 125th FA; Cpt John Mastbergen, commander, A Battery, 1st BN, 125th FA; and Cpt Joseph Beatty, commander, B Battery, 1st BN, 125th FA, observed and certified their Soldiers when they were confident that live fire could be conducted safely and efficiently
In the early morning of the seventh day, the Soldiers of the 1st BN, 125th FA arrived at the motor pool with their counterparts from the 1st BN, 82nd FA to prepare for the convoy to Udairi Range A long line of Paladins, ammo carriers, and HMMWVs rolled across the desert with the rising sun as a backdrop After arriving, emplacing, and ensuring positive communications, the Soldiers of the 1st BN, 125th FA fired their first live artillery rounds in a combat theater since World War II At the end of the training a total of 299 rounds were fired with zero safety incidents Additionally, 12 gun crews were Table VI live fire certified, 2 FDC crews were Table VI live fire certified, and 2 FDC crews were Table V dry fire certified
It is not often that the Minnesota National Guard gets the opportunity to train alongside active duty Soldiers Many of the Soldiers from the 1st BN, 82nd FA have multiple deployments under their belts and have fired thousands of rounds in combat This experience proved invaluable to the Soldiers of the 1st BN, 125th FA “Attending the training gave the crews the opportunity to learn new techniques and responsibilities from an active duty unit It was a good refresher for those with experience and good training for those new to the positions,” said Sgt 1st Class William Hawker, platoon sergeant, B Battery, 1st BN, 125th FA
On March 14, 2012, Lt Col Soukup and Command Sgt Maj Joseph Eustice, command sergeant major, 1st Bn, 125th FA, made the trip from Camp Patriot to Camp Buehring to present a special gift to the command team of the 1st Bn, 82nd FA The gift was a folded Minnesota state flag in a wooden display case with a plaque detailing the appreciation for the assistance with the training exercises Lt Col Edmond Brown, commander, 1st Bn, 82nd FA, accepted the gift with a smile and thanked the 1st Bn, 125th FA Afterwards, Lt Col Brown made a remark that summed up the relationship between active duty and reserve component Soldiers: “That howitzer doesn’t care if you are active duty or National Guard When [Soldiers] are in the gun, they are all the same”
Feb 17, 2012
By 1st Lt Sean Carstensen
1st Brigade Combat Team
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."
Posted: 2017-04-19 02:15 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - It was a challenging and rewarding two weeks for members attending the Army National Guard Funeral Honors Instructor Course, April 1-14, at Camp Ripley.
Soldiers of National Guard units from all over the United States took part in the course designed to educate team leaders in a variety of funeral honor detail tasks, traditions and responsibilities.
"It's a stressful course, but for our job, we have to be prepared to do our job under stress; and we all really benefitted from that," said Class Honor Grad, Sgt. Ryan Valline of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.
Posted: 2017-04-18 01:42 PM ROSEMOUNT, Minn. - The Soldiers of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division had a unique opportunity to speak with one of the U.S. Army's five Muslim chaplains April 7-10, 2017. U.S. Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Khallid Shabazz, I Corps deputy command chaplain, travelled from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Minnesota to provide professional development for the division chaplain section.
"Soldiers perform at a higher level when they are spiritually fit," said Minnesota National Guard Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Buddy Winn, the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division command chaplain. "And, it's our job as chaplains to make sure Soldiers have their spiritual needs met, regardless of faith. Having Chaplain Shabazz here as a Muslim Chaplain provides the diversity in religious background that we can't provide internally."
There are five major religions supported by the chaplaincy: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, but over 200 religions are recognized. Chaplains can only perform services for their particular religion, but they can provide support for all Soldiers, regardless of their faith.
Posted: 2017-04-14 04:25 PM ST. PAUL, Minn. - For the third consecutive year, Minnesota service members were honored with on-court recognition and other VIP treatments as part of the Minnesota Timberwolves Heroes of the Pack Program.
"We are very appreciative for what the military does for us, and we wanted to give something back to honor the military," said Roger McCabe, who along with wife, Nancy, is a driving force behind the recognitions through the FastBreak Foundation and Roger & Nancy McCabe Foundation. "This is our way of doing it."
Having lived through the Vietnam War - and with Roger and Nancy both having parents who served - the two philanthropists decided a few years back to build upon existing recognition efforts already underway by the Timberwolves. And with that, recognitions that were typically happening at Target Center in November expanded to include Minnesota Service members from all branches at every home game - a total of 41 honorees per season.