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: 2015-10-07 11:02 AM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Seven retired members of the Minnesota National Guard were recognized before their fellow service members as they were inducted into the Court of Honor, Oct. 4, 2015, at Camp Ripley.
"It is our pleasure to have the opportunity to recognize these select leaders who have served our communities, state and nation with distinction," said Col. John Kolb, chief of staff for Joint Force Headquarters.
The Memorialization Board selects individuals for their service to the Minnesota National Guard as well as continued service to their communities. The board reviews the nominations received and forwards their recommendations to the Minnesota Adjutant General for approval. These inductees join the names of more than 300 others, since 1933, who have demonstrated their unwavering dedication, loyalty and distinguished service to the Minnesota National Guard.
Posted: 2015-10-05 11:04 AM FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2015
More than 150 Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard's Willmar-based 682nd Engineer Battalion will deploy for an eleven-month mobilization in support of Operation Spartan Shield.
"The deploying Soldiers of the 682nd Engineer Battalion are eager to begin the deployment to Kuwait. This will be the first deployment for two-thirds of the unit, they are ready to create their own deployment experience," said Lt. Col. Keith Ferdon, battalion commander.
"Our battalion will be part of Task Force Wild in Kuwait. As a Minnesota hockey fan that is pretty cool. Our battalion has the mission of managing engineer sustainment operations throughout the Middle East, meaning we manage road and building infrastructure maintenance for coalition forces," said Ferdon.
Posted: 2015-10-05 09:26 AM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard on Sunday dedicated its new combat medical training center in honor of Brainerd-native and famous WWII nurse Hortense McKay. She is the first female soldier to have a building named for her at Camp Ripley.
The Medical Simulation Training Center, which opened in May of 2014, specializes in training soldiers how to treat wartime wounded. It caters both to soldiers whose main role is being a combat medic (called "68Ws" in Army parlance) and to regular frontline soldiers looking to learn rudimentary lifesaving skills. Eventually, staff hope to train 2,500 people a year in the art of repairing bodies broken by combat.
Like the rest of Camp Ripley, the MSTC puts soldiers through the most stressful testing simulation possible. Strobe lights and loudspeakers recreate the distracting stimuli of combat, and the mannequins soldiers operate on display gruesome wounds that spew blood.
Posted: 2015-09-30 01:56 PM ST. PAUL, Minn. - Master Sgt. Michael Stephen Phillips, the last Vietnam-era veteran to actively serve in the 133rd Airlift Wing, was honored for his 35 years of service at a retirement ceremony at the 133rd's dining facility, Aug. 23, 2015.
An 18-year-old Phillips first joined the active-duty Air Force on Sep. 18, 1973, as a security police specialist and was stationed at the 148th Fighter Wing (when it was still an active duty base) in Duluth. Following a seven-year break in service after his initial four-year enlistment ended, Phillips' wife saw an ad on television for a special program in the National Guard, prompting his return to service.
"Back then they had what was called the Try-1 program for prior active duty members to join the Guard. It allowed you to sign up for a year and see if you liked it," said Phillips. "If it didn't work out, you could get out, and if it did ... well, I ended up staying for another 31 years!"