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Guard the Field brings students and Vikings together
BLOOMINGTON, Minn - Pfc Cody Raatz, a member of the Albert Lea High School football team, never imagined he would be playing football at the Minnesota Vikings' Winter Park training facility with some of his favorite professional football players
"You don't get many opportunities to meet the football players you watch on TV," Raatz said "Let alone have the chance to throw a ball around with them"
Raatz was just one of a group of high school students from across the state who participated in the Minnesota National Guard's annual "Guard the Field" event Jan 12, 2013 The event provided a unique opportunity for the high school athletes to meet some of their role models
The day started with a panel of players offering advice and answering questions, followed by running drills on the field
"The biggest piece of advice I have to give to these kids is don't be that guy they say could have made it; be the guy who makes it Keep yourself motivated and always give 100 percent," shared Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson
Raatz sees his decision to join the Minnesota National Guard as a way to reach his 100 percent "Basic training changed me," he said "I know now about how much potential I do have In ten weeks you can really learn a lot about yourself"
His family and friends have seen the changes too "A lot of my friends are pretty amazed that I enlisted so young and actually went to basic training Most have said that I came back a different person I'm pretty proud of that," Raatz explained
"Being in the Army is a lot like football," Raatz continued "Basic training is 30 percent physical and 70 percent mental It's also about working as a team with your fellow Soldiers to get the job done"
That is a sentiment shared by Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen "The game's mostly mental You need to start with the basics, build your team and put in a lot of hard work to make it," he advised the students
"You reap what you sow in football and the National Guard," Raatz stated "In football you lift weights, run, practice, etc in hopes of winning games The coach guides you In basic training your drill sergeants give you the tools you need and teach you to use them It's up to you to put them to use If you want to succeed you will In the National Guard it's all about how hard you work and how well you do your job that determines how far you can go"
Each year the Recruiting and Retention Battalion hosts the "Guard the Field" event Staff Sgt Dajon Ferrell explained the mission as an opportunity for the Minnesota National Guard and the Minnesota Vikings to teach teamwork and dedication to the group of students "'Guard the Field' gives them the opportunity to pay if forward to the next generation," she explained
Jan 12, 2013
Staff Sgt Danielle Eineke
34th Red Bull Infantry Division Public Affairs
Posted: 2016-06-22 09:31 AM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard and Norwegian Home Guard gathered together at the Camp Ripley Hanger Conference Center June 20, 2016, for the American Meal as part of the Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange. The exchange began in 1974 and is the longest-running military exchange partnership between any two nations.
The event, centered on the taste of American foods, shared the cultural and social experiences typically found here in America.
"It has been a pleasure to be here; we have a lot to learn from each other and it starts right here, with the young members of our two military organizations," said Brig. Gen. Sandra Best, chief of staff of the Minnesota Air National Guard.
Posted: 2016-06-21 10:13 AM FORT IRWIN, Calif. - "Earthpig One-Six, this is Bravo Six, you are clear to advance on the objective," is heard over the radio within the crowded, oven-like Bradley Fighting Vehicle operated by engineers of the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion in the middle of the Mojave Desert on June 15, 2016.
The platoon, consisting of two Bradley Fighting Vehicles and an Assault Breacher Vehicle, was preparing for a live-fire breaching mission utilizing the mine clearing line charge while in "The Box" during National Training Center rotation 16-07 for the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, at Fort Irwin, California.
"The 1st Battalion, 145th Armored Regiment, requested my platoon as an asset in an obstacle breaching lane where we used a mine clearing line charge, or MICLIC," said Sgt. Adam Clark, a combat engineer with A Co., 334th BEB. "We provide security for our ABV asset to be able to effectively launch the rocket and detonate the charges to clear whatever the obstacle may be."
Divided into two rotations and a rail operations team, nearly 500 soldiers of the RSG are spending their annual training at the National Training Center, providing life support for the 1/34 ABCT.
"Even though this is not a typical mission for our subordinate units, our teams (consisting of personnel from different companies), really came together to make this relatively large operation flow smoothly," said Maj. Ryan Koester, plans officer and rail officer-in-charge for the off-loading portion at Marine Corps Logistics Base, Yermo, Calif.
Posted: 2016-06-14 09:24 AM TAPA ARMY BASE, Estonia - Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Red Bull Infantry Division joined units from 14 countries to support the Saber Strike 16 exercise taking place from May 27-June 22 throughout Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The long-standing U.S. Army Europe-led exercise is designed to improve joint interoperability through a range of missions that prepare participating nations to support multinational contingency operations.
"Taking leadership roles in Saber Strike, Cooperative Resolve, Yama Sakura, Talisman Sabre, Austere Challenge and other international exercises sharpens our skills as soldiers and leaders, and reinforces the reputation earned by the Red Bulls who served before us," said Division Commanding General Maj. Gen. Neal Loidolt. "Through Saber Strike, we are strengthening relationships with our Allies to enhance international security, while broadening the capacity of the Minnesota National Guard to assist in future coalition operations."
During the exercise, the Red Bulls are demonstrating for partner nations, such as Slovenia, the capabilities a division headquarters brings to the battle. Soldiers from C Company, 34th Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion are also augmenting the communications capabilities of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment.