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Minnesota National Guard
Afghan training mission returns to Minnesota

Forty-five members of the Minnesota Army National Guard completed their mission and are returning from a year-long deployment to Afghanistan The Soldiers deployed as part of a larger group to support NATO Training Mission " Afghanistan (NTM-A) This group included Guardsmen and Reservists from across the country

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The Soldiers from Minnesota were split up and worked as part of Mobile Training Teams (MTT) Their mission was to train, coach and mentor Afghan security forces, coalition forces and the Afghan Army The team focused on three areas; training infantry soldiers at the platoon level, training field artillery units to increase their ability to use indirect fire, and training Afghan soldiers in counter-insurgency

Their deployment started at Fort Dix, New Jersey They learned the basics of Dari and Pashto, the languages of Afghanistan, and refreshed their combat skills and knowledge of counterinsurgency doctrine Fort Dix cadre issued them their equipment for the mission and updated their personnel documents

The Soldiers then moved to different parts of Afghanistan to conduct their missions One team traveled to Mazar-e-Sharif in the north to train Afghan artillerymen, while another team mentored Afghan drill sergeants near Kandahar in southern Afghanistan Others worked with and mentored Afghan soldiers as they escorted logistics convoys across the country Many of the Minnesotans were formed into MTTs who moved about the country teaching Afghan soldiers counterinsurgency and teaching skills so they could, in turn, teach their fellow Afghans Minnesotans also served in Kabul in several national command posts

"The Red Bulls in Afghanistan upheld their reputation for leading that way and setting the standard for mission accomplishment," said Command Sgt Major James Goss, senior enlisted Soldier with the NTM-A "All of the Soldiers performed above and beyond expectations and did an outstanding job"

All elements successfully completed their missions of transitioning from trainer to mentor and then to a totally Afghan lead training program

As part of their multi-stage journey back to Minnesota, they regrouped in Kabul, Afghanistan before traveling back to Fort Dix They turned in their equipment at Fort Dix and completed medical and dental exams, while also ensuring all paperwork was successfully completed The last set of flights will return them to their communities and families this week

April 17, 2012
By Master Sgt Richard Kemp
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs

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