/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
Minnesota National Guard
Army pilot who grew up in Minnesota killed in Afghanistan

Another Minnesota family is mourning the loss of a Soldier Last Friday, when a Chinook helicopter crashed in Afghanistan, 10 troops were killed Among them was St Paul native Eric Totten
St Paul, Minn - Eric Totten grew up in St Paul in the Frogtown neighborhood before his family moved to Golden Valley After high school, though, the Army was Totten's home He enlisted in 1993, shortly after graduating Family members say Totten wanted to do something with his life after losing a close friend to drugs and suicide

Totten, had a great interest in flying He became a CH-47 Chinook helicopter pilot, and his colleagues say he was good

The Chinook is huge; it looks like a bus with huge rotors over the front and back ends It weighs almost 12 tons empty and can carry three dozen troops, including the crew

Calvin Dockery is also a Chinook pilot He served with Totten in Afghanistan for six months "Eric was just so calm all the time He just never seemed like he got excited, I guess He was very level-headed, a really intelligent guy I think the combination of the those things made him a great pilot," according to Dockery

Totten was on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan when he died His most recent deployment was in February

Totten was part off the flight crew on the Chinook helicopter that went down last Friday The military says the 10 Soldiers on board died when the copter fell into a ravine during a mountaintop landing in Kunar Province

Eric was just so calm all the time He was very level-headed, a really intelligent guy I think the combination of the those things made him a great pilot

- Calvin Dockery, Chinook pilot

As one member of the small group of pilots who fly Chinooks, Dockery says news of the crash got his attention right away

"You always kind of assume you may know someone in the Chinook world, but when you finally hear that it is someone you know, someone you really like, it's even worse news It's one of those hard-to-grasp things I've lost several friends now in action I'm not saying I'm getting used to it, but it's not as large a shock as it used to be, I guess," Dockery said

Dockery first met Totten about five years ago when his company joined Totten's unit at Fort Campbell, Kentucky Dockery says when he arrived, Totten was welcoming and showed him around the base Dockery says he remembers Totten as a nice guy

"He never seemed to ever get mad or upset," he said "It seems like someone's always mad in the Army But he was just always so nice Honestly, you always hear the cliche, 'I don't remember him saying a bad thing about anybody' I really don't remember Eric ever saying anything bad"

Dockery is sending condolences to Totten's family Eric Totten died less than a week shy of his 35th birthday He leaves behind a stepmother in Texas and five older brothers and sisters

by Toni Randolph, Minnesota Public Radio

Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

100 Years Ago, Camp Cody's "Grand Old Man" formed 34th Infantry Division

Posted: 2018-01-18  12:59 PM
Gen. Augustus Blocksom Decorated veteran Augustus Blocksom was a man of his time, but times were changing. He exemplified Progressive Era America prior to the Great War. Blocksom participated in all the major US Army campaigns for nearly a half-century. He fought American Indians, Spaniards, Chinese and Filipinos. He brought that experience to Camp Cody, New Mexico where he assembled units from across the mid-West to form the 34th Infantry Division in 1917.

Iowa Red Bull takes command of 34th Infantry Division

Posted: 2017-12-13  10:11 AM
Minnesota National Guard JOHNSTON, Iowa - Brig. Gen. Benjamin J. Corell, Deputy Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard, assumed command of the 34th Infantry Division "Red Bulls" during a ceremony in Rosemount, Minnesota, on December 9, 2017.

Headquartered in Minnesota, the division has been commanded almost-exclusively by members of the Minnesota National Guard since 1968.

"Typically there's been very few people who have been allowed to command the 34th Infantry Division that didn't come from the state of Minnesota," Corell said.

Minnesota-based aviation unit honors storied division, enters into new, 'expeditionary' era

Posted: 2017-12-12  11:29 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade (ECAB), who recently celebrated a year full of achievements, have embraced a new name: Red Devils.

The St. Paul-based unit hosted its annual aviation brigade ball Dec. 9, at the Envision Event Center in Oakdale, Minnesota, where the unit's new logo was unveiled.

Soldiers of the 34th ECAB, which falls under and supports the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, will continue to wear the Red Bull insignia on their uniforms. However, they will now be known and referred to as the Red Devils, a name that pays homage to the division's historical accomplishments and fierce warfighting.

Minnesota Nice Extends to Puerto Rico

Posted: 2017-12-08  12:08 PM
Minnesota National Guard CAMP SANTIAGO, Puerto Rico - It has been more than two months since Hurricane Maria stuck Puerto Rico, leaving a trail of disaster behind it. The island was in dire need of some extra help. More than 230 Air National Guardsmen from 29 states have been deployed to the island and are helping in any way they can.

Eleven of those Airmen are from the Minnesota National Guard's 148th Fighter Wing out of Duluth, Minn. and the 133rd Airlift Wing out of St. Paul, Minn., are no exception in their desire to lend a helping hand. They have been at Camp Santiago, Puerto Rico, since before Thanksgiving and will leave around mid-December. Their mission is to feed military and civilian hurricane relief workers, giving them the much-needed fuel to complete their mission throughout the day.

Article archive