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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota National Guard welcomes UK exchange

Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn - Artillerymen of the 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team and 34th Infantry Division hosted an exchange soldier from the United Kingdom on Camp Ripley, June 1-14, 2013

"It's an amazing opportunity for our unit to have the chance to show our experience, professionalism and skill to a representative of another nation's military," said Lt. Col. Randy Erickson, 1-125th FA commander

Bombardier Thomas Holloway of the 2/4 Battery, 101st Regiment, Royale Artillery a part of Her Majesty's Territorial Armed Forces joined the 125th FA for their two-week annual training on Camp Ripley recently The battalion's mission was to train and qualify their crews on emplacement and operations of the 155mm M109A6 Self-Propelled Howitzer

The Territorial Forces of the United Kingdom, much like the National Guard of the United States, is organized and has the same mission as regular army units, but in time of need react by providing support to the community as well The 101st Regiment is based in northeast England where the majority of its subordinate units and soldiers live Having the availability of the regiment's soldiers close at hand is essential to maintaining close bonds with the local communities as well as the readiness of the fighting force

"It's interesting the differences we have with other militaries in how we operate; being that it's mostly the same kind of job," said Staff Sgt Robert Koerting, Paladin Section Chief for 1st Platoon, Alpha Battery, 1-125 FA

The Minnesota National Guard has always maintained and thrived on the long-standing traditions of service member exchanges with other nations Exchanges with other nations including Norway, Sweden, Croatia and Germany have improved the partnerships militarily and culturally

"The lads have taken great care of me," said Holloway "I got to do the various jobs and operations with the guns and adjusting the rounds I also got to go to Minneapolis to enjoy the sights and experiences of Minnesota"

Joining Minnesota National Guard units in the field often entails long hours of intense training The chance to get out and see the friendly side of Minnesota is a welcome treat following twelve days of operations

"The food was excellent and everyone was very friendly and nice," included Holloway Bombardier Holloway's return trip to the UK included a six-hour layover in Washington DC where he got to tour the capital and take in the some of America's landmarks The exchange program reciprocates with a Soldier from the Minnesota Army National Guard going over to England in mid-July
June 19, 2013
By Staff Sgt Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs

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