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Minnesota National Guard
Red Bulls take Caimans off-road in Kuwait

UDAIRI RANGE, Kuwait - During their missions in Iraq, Soldiers of Alpha Company, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor drove on paved roads to facilitate the drawdown of equipment

In support of their new mission, Alpha Company Soldiers are conducting off-road training to learn how to better maneuver their 20-ton Caiman Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles on variable terrain and in tight quarters

The training began with Alpha Company Soldiers convoying their Caiman to Udairi Range, an ordinary task they have accomplished time and time again



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When they entered the training area the Soldiers knew an interesting day was ahead of them Rolling hills, tight turns, soft sand, ravines, and other obstacles they had not yet encountered while on their prior missions awaited the Soldiers

The MRAP Off-Road Driving Course contained many natural obstacles and terrain features chosen to properly train the Soldiers

After preparing the range, the first vehicle moved out onto the course The terrain was rough and assumed to be unforgiving on the 20-ton Caiman, but to the Soldier's surprise, the large elephant-like vehicle traversed the terrain with little difficulty

Up and down the hills, through the thick sand and over the rhythmic sections of harsh terrain, the drivers navigated their vehicles The purpose of the course is to build confidence in the drivers and in their vehicle's capabilities

After the first run was completed, the drivers had a good idea of the vehicle's off-road capabilities They were then sent back out on the course, only this time they traversed the course with little trouble and had a good basis of experience with off-road maneuvering of the Caiman

The mission has changed, but the Soldiers of Alpha Company will continue to train and hone their skills in order to prepare themselves for whatever the future may hold

One thing is certain, whether it is paved roads or the harsh desert terrain, the Soldiers of Alpha Company 1-194 CAB will be able to shoot, move and communicate, wherever the enemy may be

By 2nd Lt Kyle Koeberl
1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Red Bull Infantry Division
Jan 25, 2012




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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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