| 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
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."