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
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Bill Smith, father of Sgt. 1st Class Paul Smith, and Richard Cauley, father of Spc. George Cauley, two Gold Star dads, recently spoke about their sons and what it means to be a Gold Star father.
"Everyone's greatest fear is the thought they'll say something awkward [to a Gold Star family member]. We want to talk about our loved ones. The greatest sadness would be that no one would remember," said Bill Smith.
Posted: 2015-03-22 01:39 PM BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Soldiers of Headquarters, Headquarters Company of the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion took time away from training to celebrate Women's History Month with a look at the history of women in the Minnesota National Guard from someone who lived it.
Invited to speak at the event was Geraldine Longfellow. In 2008, Longfellow retired from the Minnesota Army National Guard at the rank of lieutenant colonel. She has since been brevetted to the rank of colonel.
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"We feel it is our duty, in our own communities, to ensure that our friends and neighbors are taken care of," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ryan Ross.
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Posted: 2015-03-17 01:26 PM
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At some point in a soldier's enlistment, he or she will be asked, are you going to re-enlist? Enlistment contracts for the National Guard often are an eight-year obligation with four or six years of active drilling service. Some soldiers leave the Army, and others decide to take the opportunities they've been offered and make a career.
Sgt. Brittany Grams, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 34th Combat Aviation Brigade medical noncommissioned officer, and Spc. Freddie Williams IV, HHC 34th CAB human resource specialist, are making careers, and the transition from enlisted soldier to officer. Article archive