| Soldiers return home from Iraq, Kuwait
Posted: May 01, 2012, 9:05 am
By Edie Grossfield
The Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN
Having arrived in Minnesota after his third deployment to the Middle East in seven years, Cmdr Luke Wright said he was looking forward to seeing family and friends and hanging out with his dog
Grant Brossard, a member of Bravo Company 2-135th Infantry, returned home after a 10 month deployment late Monday night to be greeted by his wife, Kate, and his two sons, Spencer and Braeden It was the first time Brossard saw 2 month old Braeden "This is awesome," said Brossard, "Just fantastic"
He is one of about 500 Minnesota National Guard soldiers who are returning home this week from the guard's largest deployment since World War II In total, about 3,000 members of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division are scheduled to return home this month after serving in Kuwait and Iraq
Before coming back to Minnesota, the soldiers spent a week at a base in Mississippi going through the post-deployment process, including medical exams and learning about benefits related to employment and veterans services
"And then we just waited to come home," said Wright, who lives in Minneapolis and grew up in Faribault
He arrived with his fellow soldiers at the Rochester National Guard Armory at about 11 pm Monday, more than an hour earlier than expected His fiance, Lindsey Aho, was there to greet him She drove down from Minneapolis Wright said the two haven't had much time together, given his deployments
"At one point, we had been together for 60 months; I'd been home for about 16 of those months So, we're finally getting a chance to get married in September, and we're excited to do that," he said
Wright's group was stationed at Camp Buehring in Kuwait for its approximately nine-month deployment They had a few missions, including providing security at Ali Al Salem Air Base and the Kuwaiti Naval Base, he said
"And then we transitioned to do some route security missions into Iraq -- for about a month and a half," Wright said "And after that, we were just part of what they call mobile reaction forces It's like a theater reserve for all of the Middle East ... like if something would have spawned again in Iraq after all the troops pulled out"
Wright said the Middle East is a "powder keg"
"There's a lot of uncertainty, to say the least, so they're definitely going to continue to have forces there for quite some time," he said
Wright also served in the first 22-month Red Bull deployment in 2005, and he later served in Afghanistan
Also among the returning soldiers was Sgt Tim Hollrah, of Rochester He was stationed in Kuwait on his first deployment overseas He was part of the mobile reaction forces
Hollrah's wife, Amanda, their daughter and other relatives welcomed him home
"It feels pretty good to be home, finally It's been a long time," he said, adding that he couldn't wait to take a shower It was 95 degrees in Mississippi when the soldiers left Monday
Minnesota National Guard Remembers the Holocaust with Jewish Community Relations Council
Posted: 2017-04-24 10:43 AM
Washington - Members of the Minnesota National Guard and the Air Force Reserve traveled to Washington D.C. with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (also known as the JCRC), to visit the Holocaust Museum, April 4, 2017, to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Also, traveling with this group were St. Paul and Minneapolis police officers along with students from various high schools around the state. For those in uniform that day, it was an opportunity to see, hear and experience the stories of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
Each Service member who attended was asked to bring back a summary of their experience in the form of a presentation, professional discussion or briefing to their respective unit in order to help other Guard members better understand and remember that horrible event, to honor the courage of the victims and survivors, and to remain vigilant as members of the U.S. military.
"The honor and privilege of accompanying members of the Minnesota National Guard to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. met so many goals," said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the JCRC. "I wanted to reinforce the importance of the commitment of the U.S. military to democracy. After all, it was the Allies that defeated Nazi Germany and ultimately put an end to the Holocaust."
Learning to instruct professionalism and discipline
Posted: 2017-04-19 02:15 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - It was a challenging and rewarding two weeks for members attending the Army National Guard Funeral Honors Instructor Course, April 1-14, at Camp Ripley.
Soldiers of National Guard units from all over the United States took part in the course designed to educate team leaders in a variety of funeral honor detail tasks, traditions and responsibilities.
"It's a stressful course, but for our job, we have to be prepared to do our job under stress; and we all really benefitted from that," said Class Honor Grad, Sgt. Ryan Valline of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.
Chaplains support Muslim Soldiers by finding common ground
Posted: 2017-04-18 01:42 PM
ROSEMOUNT, Minn. - The Soldiers of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division had a unique opportunity to speak with one of the U.S. Army's five Muslim chaplains April 7-10, 2017. U.S. Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Khallid Shabazz, I Corps deputy command chaplain, travelled from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Minnesota to provide professional development for the division chaplain section.
"Soldiers perform at a higher level when they are spiritually fit," said Minnesota National Guard Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Buddy Winn, the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division command chaplain. "And, it's our job as chaplains to make sure Soldiers have their spiritual needs met, regardless of faith. Having Chaplain Shabazz here as a Muslim Chaplain provides the diversity in religious background that we can't provide internally."
There are five major religions supported by the chaplaincy: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, but over 200 religions are recognized. Chaplains can only perform services for their particular religion, but they can provide support for all Soldiers, regardless of their faith.
Howling with pride - Minnesota Service members honored by MN Timberwolves
Posted: 2017-04-14 04:25 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - For the third consecutive year, Minnesota service members were honored with on-court recognition and other VIP treatments as part of the Minnesota Timberwolves Heroes of the Pack Program.
"We are very appreciative for what the military does for us, and we wanted to give something back to honor the military," said Roger McCabe, who along with wife, Nancy, is a driving force behind the recognitions through the FastBreak Foundation and Roger & Nancy McCabe Foundation. "This is our way of doing it."
Having lived through the Vietnam War - and with Roger and Nancy both having parents who served - the two philanthropists decided a few years back to build upon existing recognition efforts already underway by the Timberwolves. And with that, recognitions that were typically happening at Target Center in November expanded to include Minnesota Service members from all branches at every home game - a total of 41 honorees per season.