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Candidates in the program are assigned to the 175th RTI and complete their training over their drill weekend, providing the most appeal and the least amount of disruption for traditional Soldiers who drill one weekend each month, according to Chief Warrant Officer 5 Peter Panos, the senior warrant officer advisor to the adjutant general
Upon graduation, the warrant officer typically takes their position in the unit and stays there, providing continuity and technical expertise within the unit as officers and NCOs come and go
Warrant Officers are true subject matter experts - the "mortar that holds the organization together," as Panos describes it
There have been about 60 graduates since the first RTI course graduated in 2006, and in an over staffed environment, the school can afford to be more selective
"I think we do a much better job right now of adhering to standards and identifying the right group of individuals," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Keith Schweitzer, a trainer with the 175th RTI
As a trainer of warrant officer candidates, Schweitzer is more concerned with teaching leadership than putting a warrant officer candidate on the ground to do push-ups There's no point in beating someone up if the instructor cannot relate the lesson back to a regulation or to troop leading procedures, said Schweitzer
Another advantage of a National Guard warrant officer is the integration of civilian skills to job-specific skills And warrant officers often bring prior army experience to their new careers
Perhaps no one epitomizes that synthesis of insight and experience more than Panos
After leaving the Marines, Panos joined the Army and went into the intelligence field While in California, Panos became a police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department, and also went to flight school, going on to fly commercial jets for several years in addition to his police work
He moved to Minnesota and joined the St Paul Police Department and Minnesota Army National Guard After a stateside Medevac deployment, Panos was tapped for the 1st Brigade Combat Team deployment that began in September 2005
This long deployment is what broadened his view of the warrant officer corps At that point, Panos knew he wanted to get more involved in his career as a warrant officer
Panos said one of the biggest parts of his job is to change the perceptions of people in the military about the warrant officer corps, and the benefits of warrant officers within a command
"I think a lot of commanders don't realize how important a warrant officer is to them," he said
By Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
May 16, 2012
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.
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.
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.
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.