| Welcome home plans forming
First up: Who can help organize celebration?
5:52 PM, Apr 24, 2012
Eleven months ago this week, Central Minnesota said a bittersweet "goodbye and good luck" to more than 200 fellow residents as they joined the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, 1st Brigade Combat Team in deploying for duty in Iraq and Kuwait
Now those 2,400 troops are returning home, which means it's time for this area to start planning a formal "welcome home" celebration
We write today for two reasons First, we want to hear from those people and organizations interested in helping make this celebration happen Second, consider this your notice to watch for specifics so you can help welcome home these troops and celebrate the service of all area veterans
At this point, an exact time and date has not been selected That will come once unit leaders have had a chance to unpack and look toward the summer However, St Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis said Tuesday the city will provide the location - the new River's Edge Convention Center
With the venue identified, there still will be plenty to do So how can you and your group help?
Please share your name and how you want to help Also, provide a daytime phone number, e-mail address or quickest way to reach you We will compile that information and be in touch as plans come into focus
You can contact us by phone: 255-8762; e-mail: letters@stcloudtimescom; fax: 255-8775 (Label: "Attention: Welcome Home celebration") and mail: Welcome Home c/o Times Opinion Pages, PO Box 768, St Cloud MN 56301
This board has been a part of two similar celebrations in recent years Those have featured loads of information for veterans and families, light refreshments, handmade "welcome home" signs, patriotic music, slide shows, a color guard, kids events and activities, and a formal welcome-home program
Experience teaches us that broad community support is critical For example, key organizers have included the city of St Cloud, the VA Medical Center, 4-H Youth Development/Operation Military Kids, KNSI-AM, Warrior to Citizen and the Qwest Pioneers
Donations and volunteers also are essential East Side VFW Post 4847, Short Stop Custom Catering, Women in the Military and Sauk Rapids Women of Today have helped with those, as have Great River Rotary of Sauk Rapids, and Business Women of Central Minnesota
We welcome assistance from those and any other people and organizations who want to celebrate the return of not just these veterans, but all Central Minnesotans who have sacrificed so much
Litchfield and Local Veteran Honor Gen. John Vessey at Armory Open House
Posted: 2017-03-10 08:50 AM
LITCHFIELD, Minn. -Bruce Cottington, a Navy veteran of WWII and Korea, donated a bronze bust of Gen. John W. Vessey, Jr. to the Litchfield National Guard unit during the armory's public open house event March 4. Cottington, a Litchfield resident, commands the Minnesota Chapter of the Veterans of Underage Military Service. VUMS members enlisted in the military prior to the minimum age requirement in order to serve their country during WWII. Cottington received the bust from Vessey, a fellow VUMS member. Both enlisted in the military at the age of 16.
The highlight of the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion open house was the unveiling of the sculpture. The unit was very supportive when Cottington proposed donating the sculpture. The Litchfield community has always been very supportive of the National Guard over the years, so the open house was a chance to say 'thanks' to their neighbors. "This was a great opportunity to honor Bruce and to honor Gen. Vessey," said B Co., 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion Commander, Capt. Seth Goreham. Bravo Company also has a tight relationship with the local American Legion and VFW. Many Litchfield citizens are former members of Bravo Company, or the unit's predecessors A Co, 682nd Engineer Battalion, and the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company.
Camp Ripley welcomes new command sergeant major
Posted: 2017-03-08 03:29 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The garrison command team of Camp Ripley, family, friends and colleagues from the Minnesota National Guard attended a Change of Responsibility ceremony between Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Worden and Command Sgt. Maj. Matt Erickson, March 5, 2017, at Camp Ripley.
The ceremony was an official "passing of the sword" from one senior noncommissioned officer to the next and assumption of the duties and responsibilities that go along with the position of Garrison Command Sergeant Major.
As with many military ceremonies those in attendance welcomed Erickson as a new member of the team and bid farewell, recognized and thanked Worden for his service.
Norwegian youth recognized for response to vehicle accident
Posted: 2017-02-22 09:59 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Norwegian youths Stian Dahl and Haavard Engen received the Camp Ripley Garrison Commander's coin from Col. Scott St Sauver February 19, 2017, in recognition for reacting to a vehicle accident they witnessed earlier that week.
As part of the U.S.-Norway Reciprocal Troop Exchange, Norwegian youths ages 19-20 are matched up with a host family in order to spend an evening experiencing American culture. In most situations the "Buddy Weekend" as it's called allows the youths to go shopping, attend events and have home-cook meals along with their host family.
"We are able to match up youth members with families all over the state," said Staff Sgt. Tim Krouth, Buddy Weekend organizer. "Lots of the families have hosted one or two of our Norwegian friends for several years in a row now, it a great way to relax and see some of Minnesota."
To the top of the mountain and back, NOREX 44 members embrace the Norwegian winter
Posted: 2017-02-21 01:25 PM
HALTDALEN, Norway - After two days at a base camp near Haltdalen, Norway, Minnesota National Guardsmen participating in the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange were ready for the most challenging aspect of their four-day field training exercise - a ski march up the mountain.
It was Day three of the FTX, meaning members of the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange had slowly adjusted to surviving and thriving while living in a winter environment and also honed their skills on cross country skills well enough to begin a climb that would take nearly three hours.
"Our goal was to get you to know how to use the winter, see how the Norwegians use the winter, and how we survive the winter so we can conduct combat," said Vidar Aune, one of several members of Home Guard 12 guiding the Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen during their training here. "By getting the experience living outside in the snow, you manage to survive it and handle it quite well."