/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
History
Minnesota National Guard
Chilly weather doesn't hamper warm welcome for returning soldiers

By Dan Nienaber Free Press Staff Writer

April 29, 2012 ST PETER -
A snappy breeze and frosty drops of rain didn't keep dozens of proud parents, siblings and friends from waiting along the streets of St Peter Sunday to welcome their soldiers home

Grant Wiest's father, stepmother, twin brother and five other siblings didn't think twice about heading for cover during the drizzle They just looked down Minnesota Avenue, also Highway 169, and waited They knew there were four buses coming and Grant, of Le Sueur, would be waiving from the passenger seat of number two

"We miss him and he's been gone long enough," his father, Lyle Wiest said "We're ready for him to be home"

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion 125th Field Artillery had been in Kuwait for about nine months Add in several weeks of training before they left and debriefing once they were back in the United States, and they were away from home for two weeks short of a year

The 70 or so soldiers returning to St Peter were among about 2,500 Minnesota soldiers who have been returning from deployments in Kuwait The St Peter soldiers and another group of area soldiers, which returned to New Ulm Sunday, are members of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team That group has the distinction of being the largest deployment of Minnesota National Guard soldiers since World War II

During their Kuwait deployment, the brigade was participating in Operation New Dawn, which, as the final phase of the Iraq War, involved moving US forces out of Iraq

Led by police squad cars, fire trucks and motorcycles, the buses made a quick trip around St Peter before pulling into the city's National Guard Armory Once the soldiers were off their buses, lined up and standing at a attention, it didn't take long to zip through the formalities and move on to the important business

The man who had called them to attention just seconds earlier didn't say much before he set the anxious men and women free

"Thanks for your service and good job," he said "Company dismissed"

Both the soldiers and the crowd around them responded with a cacophony of yeas and woo-hoos

One of the woo-hoos in the crowd came from Krystal Sprint of Mankato She was holding a bright green sign that said, "Felicia My hero My sister"

"She's my best friend and it was a long deployment," Sprint said after welcoming her sister, Felicia Vandenest, home

Vandenest was able to come home for a two-week leave during December, but she had to be back on duty just days before Christmas

"It was kind of like a teaser to come home and see all the lights then, boom, I was back in Kuwait," she said "It seems like it was all just a dream now You look back on it and so much happened and the days were so long it just flew by"

Vandenest planned to go home and enjoy a quiet dinner with her dad, Brian Vandenest of La Salle, and her sisters Sunday night The Southwest Minnesota State University student had no solid plans for the rest of the summer, except that she knows it will include a lot of grilling, camping and kicking back

"I'm going to school," she said "I have all summer to relax"
Article source
http://mankatofreepress.com/local/x157475799/Chilly-weather-doesn-t-hamper-warm-welcome-for-returning-soldiers



Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Securing the Bold North: Minnesota National Guard supports Super Bowl LII

Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
Super Bowl 52 MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - More than 400 Minnesota National Guardsmen are supporting security efforts in Minneapolis ahead of Super Bowl 52.

"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

At the request of the city, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide support to security efforts leading up to and during Super Bowl 52. The Guardsmen are providing direct support to and working alongside law enforcement officers from across the state. Like their civilian law enforcement partners, Minnesota Guardsmen are focused on ensuring a safe experience for the residents and visitors who are attending the Super Bowl festivities.



100 Years Ago, Camp Cody's "Grand Old Man" formed 34th Infantry Division

Posted: 2018-01-18  12:59 PM
Gen. Augustus Blocksom Decorated veteran Augustus Blocksom was a man of his time, but times were changing. He exemplified Progressive Era America prior to the Great War. Blocksom participated in all the major US Army campaigns for nearly a half-century. He fought American Indians, Spaniards, Chinese and Filipinos. He brought that experience to Camp Cody, New Mexico where he assembled units from across the mid-West to form the 34th Infantry Division in 1917.



Iowa Red Bull takes command of 34th Infantry Division

Posted: 2017-12-13  10:11 AM
Minnesota National Guard JOHNSTON, Iowa - Brig. Gen. Benjamin J. Corell, Deputy Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, assumed command of the 34th Infantry Division "Red Bulls" during a ceremony in Rosemount, Minnesota, on December 9, 2017.

Headquartered in Minnesota, the division has been commanded almost-exclusively by members of the Minnesota National Guard since 1968.

"Typically there's been very few people who have been allowed to command the 34th Infantry Division that didn't come from the state of Minnesota," Corell said.



Minnesota-based aviation unit honors storied division, enters into new, 'expeditionary' era

Posted: 2017-12-12  11:29 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade (ECAB), who recently celebrated a year full of achievements, have embraced a new name: Red Devils.

The St. Paul-based unit hosted its annual aviation brigade ball Dec. 9, at the Envision Event Center in Oakdale, Minnesota, where the unit's new logo was unveiled.

Soldiers of the 34th ECAB, which falls under and supports the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, will continue to wear the Red Bull insignia on their uniforms. However, they will now be known and referred to as the Red Devils, a name that pays homage to the division's historical accomplishments and fierce warfighting.



Article archive
 
top