/*********************************************** * 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
Bulldogs return from Afghanistan

DULUTH, Minn - Nearly 300, or 30%, of the Minnesota National Guard's 148th Fighter Wing 'Bulldogs' recently returned home after depolying to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom

While deployed, the 148th was charged with providing close air support, or protection, for ground forces serving throughout Afghanistan In two months the 148th flew 1,140 flights, totaling more than 5,300 hours, which is comparable to 18 months of home-station flying Additionally, the Bulldogs did not miss a single sortie during this period due to maintenance

Download photos

"This is nothing less than a miracle," said 179th Fighter Squadron Commander, and deployed commander, Lt. Col. Christopher "Slag" Blomquist "Outstanding planning and workmanship allowed us to never drop a sortie in an austere environment"

The Bulldogs partnered with the 14th Fighter Squadron stationed at the 35th Fighter Wing, Misawa Air Base, Japan

"This was the first time an active duty and guard fighter squadron deployed as a combined unit in combat in this manner," said Blomquist

A total of 400 personnel from Duluth and Misawa deployed as a cohesive unit, flying effectively and safely

The partnership with Misawa Air Base came at an opportune time, as the 148th has been selected as an Active Associate base As an Active Associate base, the 148th will host active duty Airmen who will fly, or work and train on 148th aircraft

"The average aircraft mechanic has 17 years of experience at the 148th Fighter Wing," said Vice Wing Commander, Lt. Col. Jon Safstrom "This experience and expertise can be passed on to young Airmen when they are stationed at Duluth in 2013"

This was the Wing's fourth large-scale Air Expeditionary Force deployment since 2005 The Bulldogs had previously deployed an aviation package to Joint Base Balad, Iraq in 2005, 2007, and 2008 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom

"Work, living and off-duty facilities differed greatly at Kandahar versus Balad," said weapons superintendent, Senior Master Sgt Dwayne Wuestneck

As a result, 17 Bulldogs used their off-duty time to accomplish air force specialty code skill level training or professional military education tests

Other members improved their fitness during off-duty time Fifteen Bulldogs formed the 451st Expeditionary Running Club, also known as the "Ditch Divers" This group regularly ran three-, six- and eight-mile increments as a way to maintain their fitness levels and build camaraderie

In typical Minnesota fashion, many Bulldogs also formed a boot hockey league

"After a few scrimmages, forces from Slovakia joined and that formalized into a sanctioned Kandahar Hockey League," said Tech Sgt Kyle Lindstrom from the aircraft maintenance squadron

"The result of this deployment was a perfectly integrated operation where everyone came home, nobody was hurt and we maintained a perfect safety record," Blomquist concluded "Many thanks to those who deployed, their families and employers for a job extremely well done"

Currently the 148th has 12 members deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom

Story by Maj Audra Flanagan
148th Fighter Wing, Minnesota National Guard
Nov 29, 2012

Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

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.

Governor Mark Dayton installs new Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General

Posted: 2017-11-04  04:16 PM
TAG installation ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton administered the oath of office to Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, installing him as the Minnesota National Guard's 31st Adjutant General during a ceremony in St. Paul, November 4, 2017.

"General Jensen has been a tremendous leader of the Minnesota National Guard throughout his years of dedicated service," said Governor Dayton. "He has served in two top leadership positions, as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, and also as the Chief of Staff at the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. I am confident that he will continue to provide the same outstanding leadership as his predecessor, General Rick Nash."

Jensen most recently served as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. He previously held positions as Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Africa and Southern European Task Force, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff and Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Army.

Article archive