| 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
Officers convene for 112th Meeting of the National Guard Association of Minnesota
Posted: 2017-04-28 12:38 PM
MANKATO, Minn. - Commissioned leaders of the Minnesota National Guard convened for the 112th General Conference of the National Guard Association of Minnesota at the Verizon Wireless Center and Hilton Garden Inn, Mankato, on April 22, 2017.
The annual gathering of association members - who serve as advocates for the needs of Soldiers, Airmen and their families - includes a business meeting, commanders march, formal dining event and transfer of responsibility to the chapter's new president.
The day's event began with a business meeting, which focused on the association's mission of educating and informing legislators on the issues facing the current and future role of the National Guard in serving Minnesota communities. The strategic planning meeting was attended by Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, his staff and unit commanders.
Camp Ripley earns top environmental award
Posted: 2017-04-26 02:09 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Department of Defense announced that Camp Ripley was selected as the winner of the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation.
The awards recognize individuals, teams and installations for their exceptional environmental achievements and innovative, cost-effective environmental practices.
"The winners' efforts strengthen the Department of Defense's position as a resourceful environmental steward, both at home and abroad, and demonstrate our continued commitment to fulfilling mission needs through advanced environmental practices and technologies," stated James A. MacStravic, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
Minnesota Guardsman finds work with victims in the military and the local community rewarding
Posted: 2017-04-26 10:57 AM
COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Nicquie Neely has been working with victims of sexual assault for four years in the Minnesota National Guard and also volunteers as a victim advocate in the community. As a victim advocate, it's her job to believe and support victims through a difficult process that can often involve extensive medical care and legal proceedings.
"Ever since I joined the Guard and heard about the SHARP program and learned what a victim advocate was, I always wanted to be one," said Neely. "And then I learned that you had to be an E-6 to be in that position, so the minute I got promoted I asked my commander if I could go to the training."
Neely is a combat medic and the full-time training and administration NCO with Company C, 134th Brigade Support Battalion. In addition to military victim advocate training, Neely also attends regular training with the civilian organization she volunteers for - SOS Sexual Violence Services in Ramsey County.
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."