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History
Minnesota National Guard
Mission Accomplished: Return of the 1st Brigade Combat Team

The final wave of Soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Red Bull Infantry Division returned to Minnesota on May 6, 2012

From August 2011 until April 2012, the 2,700 Minnesota Soldiers conducted missions in Kuwait and Iraq This was the largest deployment of Minnesota Red Bulls since World War II


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During the deployment, the BCT had three main objectives The first objective was managing five bases in Kuwait, ensuring everything ran smoothly and providing life support for US forces and their allies

Second, the brigade was responsible for force protection, ensuring that Soldiers had the ability to conduct operations safely

Their third objective was providing convoy security for the end of Operation New Dawn, the largest logistical drawdown since World War II The last convoy left Iraq on December 18, 2011

"The 18th of December was a big day for the brigade because the looks on the faces, when that last convoy crossed and we all made it out safely and we got all those Soldiers home," said Col Eric Kerska, brigade commander "All 40,000 Soldiers, home by Christmas, that was a big deal for the guys"

Some of the brigade's accomplishments include:
  1. Traveled 28 million miles conducting convoy escort and security, while escorting approximately 359,000 personnel, 27,000 trucks and supplying 554 million gallons of fuel to US forces in Iraq

  2. Completed 25 Department of Public Works projects on Camp Arifjan and reduced excess resources that helped identify a savings of $10 million in annual contracts

  3. Conducted more than 335 Area Reaction Force missions and 11,925 Quick Reaction Force missions, traveling approximately 98,985 miles in Kuwait
"The folks from Minnesota really need to be proud of what their Soldiers accomplished," said Kerska "It was an extremely complicated mission, lots of moving pieces, lots of danger"
The next step for the Soldiers is reintegrating with their families

Now that the Soldiers have all returned home, they will all participate in Beyond the Yellow Ribbon's Initial Reintegration Training The training is three parts and occurs at 30, 60 and 90 day intervals after the Soldier's return Reintegration training connects Service members and their family with providers and classes that can assist them in overcoming the challenges of reintegration

May 6, 2012
Staff Sgt Dajon Ferrell
Deployment Cycle Support office





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Posted: 2017-05-24  01:12 PM
Operation Future Warrior More than 900 recruits from the Minnesota National Guard came to Camp Ripley Friday through Sunday for Operation Future Warrior.

Young men and women who volunteered to join the Minnesota Army National Guard got to experience a small taste of basic training and military training during the three-day event.

"The intent of Operation Future Warrior is removing the mystery of the training recruits will experience when attending Basic Combat and Advance Individualized Training," said Lt. Col. Eduardo Suarez, recruiting and retention battalion commander.



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Posted: 2017-05-23  08:03 AM
Hellkamp ARDEN HILLS, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade welcomed a new senior enlisted leader during a change of responsibility ceremony, May 21, 2017, at the Arden Hills Army Training Site.

Command Sgt. Maj. Mitchell Hellkamp assumed duties as the unit's senior noncommissioned officer (NCO) from Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Cunnien, who served in the position for the past two years and will be retiring from the military later this year.

"Command Sgt. Maj. Cunnien is one of the finest leaders that I have worked with in my career," said Col. Shawn Manke, commander of the 34th CAB. "He sets the example for all noncommissioned officers and Soldiers to emulate. He is a true professional, as a visible leader and teacher for the Soldiers of the combat aviation brigade. We're grateful for his many years of service, and we wish him well as he closes out his military career and enters the next chapter in his life."



Families recognized for sacrifices during Guard deployment

Posted: 2017-05-22  10:57 AM
Welcome Home ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Soldiers of B Co., 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion were welcomed home May 20, 2017, at the River's Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota. During the ceremony, families were recognized for their sacrifices during the year-long deployment.

"I often tell Soldiers and truly believe that as hard as our jobs are at times, our families have the harder job at home," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, commander of the 2-147 Assault Helicopter Battalion. "Because Army family members have a unique burden that many of their friends and families cannot understand, they form family readiness groups, or FRGs, to share information and provide support to one another."

The company's FRG leader, Rhiannon Knutson, wife of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Tom Knutson, was in constant contact with the unit's families and went above and beyond what is normally expected of FRG leaders, said the unit's readiness non-commissioned officer, Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wood.



Camp Ripley's Training Support Unit keeps the base running

Posted: 2017-05-16  12:41 PM
Camp Ripley CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Camp Ripley Training Support Unit is designated to the care, upkeep and assistance to the installation and those utilizing the facility.

"The Training Support Unit's (TSU) primary focus is to support unit training requirements and ensure smooth operations here on Camp Ripley and the Arden Hills Army Training Site in the metro," said Sgt. 1st Class Terry Clabo, Training Support Unit Readiness NCO.

Camp Ripley features numerous ranges and state-of-the-art training facilities to support military, law enforcement, first responder and inter-agency partner training requirements. The installation is structured to have a full complement of automated small arms and large caliber weapon ranges as well as several specialized training facilities.



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