The mission accomplished by 1-194 during their deployment was a historic feat, which was vital to the drawdown of U.S. Soldiers and equipment from Iraq. They worked around the clock day after day to keep travel routes safe.
Sgt. Chad Swenson from Elk River, Minn., was a gunner on one of many convoy escort teams the 1-194 provided. For miles through the dark, hours at a time, Sgt. Swenson provided constant security as his convoy traveled over the highways of Iraq.
"It was ending a war. It means a lot in general just to bring everybody home,"¯ Swenson said, describing his feelings about the 1-194's mission.
During a ceremony held at Camp Virginia, Kuwait, Maj. Tadd Vanyo and Sgt. Maj. John Lepoqski put away the battalion colors. 1-194 closed an important chapter in their history as the command team prepared the battalion colors for the journey back home.
The 1-94 CAV wrapped up their mission in Kuwait with a casing ceremony Apr 3 at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. Col. Eddie Frizell, 1-94 CAV commander and Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Essig, the command team of 1-94 CAV, cased the colors as Soldiers and leaders of the 1-94 CAV looked on.
During the withdrawal of troops and equipment from Iraq, the 1-94 CAV performed convoy escort missions and traveled over one million miles.
"To see that the war is over is an amazing thing to be a part of,"¯said Maj. Mark Lappegaard, 1-94 CAV executive officer. "Having everybody come back safe and seeing that all these Soldiers get to go back home is a great thing."¯
The largest deployment of the National Guard Red Bulls since World War II, the 1/34th helped complete the largest logistical drawdown in history, and continued to honor the Red Bull legacy.
Once the wheels are up with Kuwait to the rear, the first stop on the way home will be at Camp Shelby, Miss. There, each Soldier will spend some time going through medical and dental exams, while also ensuring all paperwork has been successfully completed. However, the time spent at Camp Shelby will be short and Soldiers will be ever closer to returning home to Minnesota.
April 10, 2012
Story and photos by Pfc. Linsey Williams
1/34th BCT Public Affairs
Posted: 2015-05-25 09:30 AM
In a nation struggling with war fatigue, it's important to pause on Memorial Day and recognize the Minnesotans still answering their country's call: men and women who leave their jobs and families to put on a military uniform.
Few military units have seen more activations and deployments since 9/11 than Minnesota's 133rd Airlift Wing -- its 1,200 members are essential to moving supplies and soldiers to wherever they're needed.
On part of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport where few civilian passengers step, families feel the anxiety of separation as they say goodbye again to air crew flying far, far away.
Posted: 2015-05-22 11:44 AM
CAMP RIPLEY - Garrison staff of Camp Ripley and other members of the Minnesota National Guard will take part in events this weekend honoring those who died in service to the United States.
"As members of the local community, we are honored to participate in Memorial Day events," said Lt. Col. Chad Sackett, deputy garrison commander at Camp Ripley. "It is right and fitting that we recognize and honor the service and sacrifice of those who died in service to our nation."
Minnesota National Guard members are speaking at events throughout the Memorial Day weekend. For those interested in attending a Memorial Day ceremony, here are a few of the listings for central Minnesota:
Posted: 2015-05-22 08:00 AM ST. PAUL, Minn. - More than five years after Pfc. Kham See Xiong lost his life in a mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, the Xiong family received his Purple Heart in a Ceremony during Hmong American Day in St. Paul, Minn.
"Kham was an American Solider, a Hmong-American who raised his right hand and swore to defend the constitution of the United States, a Hero," said keynote speaker Brig. Gen. Kent D. Savre, Fort Leonard Wood commanding general. Savre served as commander of the 36th Engineer Brigade at Fort Hood during the attack.
Four hundred members of the Hmong and St. Paul community crowded into the Harriet Island Pavilion as rain fell, May 14, 2015, to witness the Purple Heart Ceremony.
Posted: 2015-05-21 03:44 PM HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah - Approximately 180 Airmen and Block 50 F-16's from the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. participated in an exercise known as Combat Hammer while at Hill AFB, Utah in early May 2015. Combat Hammer is a Weapons System Evaluation Program (WSEP) that evaluates weapon systems in their entirety.
While the exercise was about a week long for most 148FW Airmen, it was quite a bit longer for those Airmen actually building the bombs and missiles. "Typically, we are one of the first assets to show up at a deployment," said 2nd Lt. Mylii Pukema, 148FW Munitions Officer. "We show up about a week before most everyone else, so we can build up the weapons and have them ready when the jets arrive."
"It's a common misconception that weapons come already built," said Pukema. "Different weapons have different levels of configuration that have to happen. It can be a lot of detail that goes into configuring a weapon or it can be relatively simple, it just depends on the mission."
148FW Munition's Airmen were evaluated from the time the weapon came out of the box. How they practiced safety and followed tech data during the building of the weapon were key components to the evaluation process.