/*********************************************** * 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

Red Bulls Kickoff Division Warfighter

Posted: 2018-06-13  01:38 PM
DIV WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - "A Warfighter is an exercise that allows the Division to evaluate their ability to maneuver assets in a battle," said Master Sgt. Greg Weaver, the Operations Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge for the Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion. "It is designed to focus on particular areas and specific objectives to be evaluated or tested."

The Division has geared its' planning and training efforts in preparation for Warfighter since July 2017. Coordinating transportation for Soldiers and equipment was often on the mind of Maj. David Johansson, the logistics officer for the 34th ID. With the coordination of Johansson and his team, troops and equipment all converged on Camp Atterbury, enlisting the help of 89 railcars, 280 tractor-trailers, and nearly 50 buses for the movement.

"I like to say my job is to 'quiet the noise'". Johansson continued, "The noise being a real life logistical problem that could impede the exercise."

Minnesota-based aviation unit takes part in Warfighter Exercise

Posted: 2018-06-08  11:59 AM
34ECAB WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - More than 150 Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade are here participating in a multi-echelon training event, Warfighter Exercise 18-5, May 30 to June 15.

The exercise, which is part live and part virtual, is testing the St. Paul, Minnesota-based aviation unit's ability to conduct operations and mission command in a high-intensity, complex operating environment. Soldiers are being challenged to take decisive action as they focus on air-ground operations -- or synchronizing and integrating aviation operations into the scheme of maneuver planned and conducted by forces on the ground.

In this case, the units on the ground are being commanded by the Rosemount, Minnesota-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, which is also participating in the exercise.

148th Fighter Wing hosts STEM program for Duluth-area students

Posted: 2018-06-05  08:52 AM
Starbase Duluth DULUTH, Minn. - Dozens of community and industry leaders passionate about helping children become more engaged in science, technology, engineering and math gathered at the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, Minn., May 24, 2018, to see what STARBASE Minnesota Duluth is doing for young students in the area.

STARBASE is a Department of Defense youth program that engages students in STEM studies. The program began in 1991, and STARBASE Minnesota was founded in 1993 in St. Paul, which expanded to Duluth in July 2017.

Currently, the school program is open to fifth-grade students, said Charity S. Rupp, the director of STARBASE Minnesota Duluth. The summer camp will serve students in 4-6th grade. Eventually, she hopes the program will expand into STARBASE 2.0 to serve middle school students as an after school program during the academic school year.

Minnesota National Guard leaders visit traveling tribute in Austin

Posted: 2018-05-22  10:16 AM
Traveling Wall AUSTIN, Minn. - A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was on display May 16-20, in Austin and leaders of the 347th Regional Support Group took the opportunity to visit during the event's closing ceremony.

The display, dubbed the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, was hosted by Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Austin and featured a near-replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C.

"It was an honor to be part of this humbling and moving tribute to our Vietnam veterans," said Col. Stephen Schemenauer. "The traveling Vietnam Wall is a powerful display, and this event provided an opportunity to meet, and thank, service members from WWII to present-day conflicts. Regardless of their branch of service, or the era or conflict in which they served, we all share a common bond."

Article archive