| Red Bulls back on their home turf
By Mandy Moran Froemming on May 9, 2012 at 7:00 am
"It feels good to be home"
Spc Benjamin Vilina of East Bethel gets a good look at his nine-month-old son Aiden after getting off the bus in Anoka on Saturday While Vilina was not able to be by his wife Chelsea's side when Aiden was born, he was able to see his birth on Skype Vilina was able to make a trip home when Aiden was three months old to meet his son for the first time Vilina was part of the final wave of Red Bulls from the Minnesota National Guard's 1st Brigade Combat Team
Those were the resounding words from soldiers as the final wave of Red Bulls came home over the weekend
Members of the Minnesota National Guard's 1st Brigade Combat Team were delivered to Anoka's Goodrich Field on Saturday and Sunday, where they were reunited with anxiously waiting family and friends after a year-long deployment to the Middle East
The Patriot Guard and Anoka-Champlin Fire Department were also on hand to celebrate the solders' return Saturday's was the 10th group of Red Bulls to come home over the past couple of weeks The final group arrived Sunday
"I'm so happy my dad is home with us again," said Lauren Hoffman of Minnetonka She waited with her sister Jenna and mom Cindy to welcome home Maj Bruce Hoffman, when the bus loaded with Red Bulls pulled into Anoka Saturday morning
Spc Benjamin Vilina of East Bethel held his nine-month-old son Aiden high up in the air to get a good look at him, just moments after getting off the bus
While not able to be by his wife Chelsea's side when Aiden was born, Vilina was able to witness the birth via Skype
Saturday was not the first time he got to meet his son in person He was able to spend some time with his newly expanded family when Aiden was three months old
The 1st Brigade Combat Team was deployed as part of the drawdown of military presence in Iraq
"During this deployment, the brigade's mission included base management, convoy security, reaction forces and management of specialized units from the Army, Navy and Coast Guard," said Army Maj Paul D Rickert, public affairs officer for the 1st Brigade Combat Team
"The brigade drove 28 million miles and escorted 27,000 trucks during 1,200 missions prior to the last US military convoy departing Iraq"
Rickert said this was the largest deployment of the Minnesota National Guard since World War II and the Red Bulls are known for having served the longest tour of duty in Iraq of any military unit, active or reserve, during the surge in 2007
Camp Ripley strikes first before wildfire season
Posted: 2017-03-24 10:19 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Every spring Camp Ripley begins its annual controlled burn program to help reduce the risk of wildfire during training.
"Usually the burns are completed every spring before the summer annual training season begins," said Tim Notch, training area coordinator on Camp Ripley. "However, the warmer weather conditions provide a nice opportunity for preventative burns earlier this season."
As in years past Camp Ripley will conduct controlled burns on approximately 13,000 acres of the 53,000-acre military reservation. The burns are done in coordination with the staffs of the Camp Ripley Department of Public Works and the Camp Ripley Environmental Department along with support from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Minnesota Guardsman earns recognition through Leads 2 Enlistment program
Posted: 2017-03-23 09:46 AM
DULUTH, Minn. - Pfc. Trevor Nelson received the Minnesota Distinguished Recruiting Ribbon and a Minnesota Recruiting and Retention Battalion medallion for excellence from Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Serbus, March 18, 2017, at the Duluth Armory. Nelson earned these awards as part of the online referral system, Leads 2 Enlistment for referring four friends who have joined the Minnesota National Guard.
"I talked to some buddies in my school about the Guard. They liked the benefits, so I put their info in the app and let my recruiter take over." said Nelson. "I thought it would be fun to serve with friends and help them figure out their path in life."
Nelson is currently a senior at Cloquet Senior High School and assigned to the Recruit Sustainment Program in Duluth. He attended basic training at Fort Benning in the summer of 2016 with follow-on training in the summer of 2017 to become an infantryman.
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.