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Minnesota National Guard
Local Troops Return Home (video)

Austin, MN -  Emotions are running high as families gather to welcome home dozens of local soldiers

After being deployed in Iraq and Kuwait since last August, Southern Minnesota National Guard soldiers returned to Austin Tuesday afternoon

It's a moment Hunter and Pheniox Schloegel have been looking forward to for nearly a year: The day they'll be reunited with their dad, Sgt Jason Schloegel, who has been overseas for his second deployment

"They miss dad really a lot and can't wait for him to get home," said Sgt Schloegel's mom, Diane

And that moment is finally here

"It's nice to be home again I'm excited to see my little boys and finally be a part of their lives again," said Sgt Schloegel

Through tears and kisses, dozens of families welcomed their loved ones back with open arms While most are reuniting after a year apart, some are meeting for the very first time

"Amazing She's so precious," said 1st Lt Dustin McCormick

1st Lt McCormick has never seen his newborn baby girl in person before Tuesday She was born just two weeks ago

"I got to watch her on Skype online, but that was nothing compared to meeting her in person for the first time," said Lt McCormick

As the commotion started to die down, the Schloegels got ready to head home for a little family time

"I'm not sure what we're going to do Just get dad and go home and relax and visit Spend time, let the boys spend time with dad," said Diane

That sounded good to Sgt Schloegel, who is looking forward to a little rest

"Spend time with the boys, watch movies, relax," he said

The troops spent about a week in Mississippi for demobilization activities before they returned home

The welcome home ceremony was organized by Austin's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon group They say celebrations like this one are essential as the troops return home

But it's not just a few people behind it This event was a community wide effort

Students from Southland Schools and Southgate Elementary made posters and banners Local color guard units were also on hand

One area veteran said it's important that the soldiers know they're appreciated

"It's just such a great feeling to have people that love and want you to come home, and greet you and tell you you've done a good job, because they have done an excellent job," said Norm Hecimovich

Many of the soldiers that returned on Tuesday were part of Operation New Dawn, which helped withdraw US military forces from Iraq

Reported by: Raquel Hellman
Email: rhellman@kimtcom
Published: 5/01 9:30 pm
Article source
http://www.kimt.com/content/localnews/story/Local-Troops-Return-Home/PPlVAvvxbE2ombKyJSp7bQ.cspx



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Mission Complete: Bearcats Finish NATO Exercise in Lithuania's Suwalki Gap

Posted: 2017-06-23  02:56 PM
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The magnitude of the exercise set in as the first bird lifted off the airstrip and started moving toward the objective in a staggered formation. Saber Strike is a U.S. Army Europe-led NATO exercise meant to exhibit a strengthened partnership of the military assets of the NATO Alliance.



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Posted: 2017-06-22  10:25 AM
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Posted: 2017-06-20  02:14 PM
Saber Strike 17 PABRADE, Lithuania - As the sun begins to set on the Lithuanian countryside, the final touches are put on the camouflage netting designed to break the silhouette and conceal the position of the Tactical Action Center, or TAC, of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division on June 17, 2017. As part of the multinational exercise of Saber Strike '17, the 1/34th ABCT is providing support to the Air Assault Task Force Commander, Col. Charles Kemper.

As the first ever combined air and ground assault in the annual Saber Strike exercise, this year's exercise has set a milestone in testing the compatibility of seven nations and all military branches.

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Posted: 2017-06-20  08:30 AM
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The task force conducted aviation support missions including air assault, sling load, deliberate attack, defensive positioning and key leader escorts. They also conducted aviation-specific training in personnel recovery, downed aircraft recovery, field maintenance and air traffic control operations.



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