CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Col. Johanna P. Clyborne assumed command of the Roseville-based 347th Regional Support Group from Col. Steve S. Hanson during a ceremony at Camp Ripley, September 7, 2013.
Hanson, who works full-time as a financial analyst at Camp Ripley, took command of the 347th in 2011.
"In the past two years, the 347th RSG has improved personnel readiness across all elements," said Maj. Gen. David Elicerio, commander of the 34th Infantry Division. "[Hanson] oversaw the mobilization, deployment and redeployment of multiple units. All served honorably; bringing home accolades from the units they served with and supported."
During the ceremony, Hanson took time to recognize the Soldiers of the 347th RSG for their contributions during his time in command.
"I'm pleased to acknowledge the Soldiers, NCOs and officers in the RSG for all the hard work you have done," said Hanson. "Your readiness ratings have never been higher."
Elicerio offered high praise of Hanson's performance over the past three years and observed that one's time in command, while rewarding, can also be fleeting.
"In my 33 years of service in this Army, I have never met a more tenacious, dogged individual than Steve Hanson," said Elicerio. "He understands the importance of standards; he realizes that results matter and that despite obstacles, his units must perform."
Clyborne, a Minnetonka native and founding partner at the law firm of Brekke, Clyborne and Ribich, LLC, joined the National Guard in 1989 and served in several positions of leadership throughout her 23-year career.
"We are given rank to serve, not to be served," said Clyborne. "I fully recognize that I have been given and entrusted with America's most prized asset: her sons and daughters. I promise that I will be a good steward of our assets and our resources. We will not break America's trust in us."
"You are being provided a unique opportunity at a very challenging time in our force's history," said Elicerio. "You are required to be flexible, creative, focused, determined, intelligent and compassionate at the right times and in the right manner. I can think of no one better to accept this challenge at this time."
Clyborne accepted the challenge and made a promise to her Soldiers about what to expect in the months ahead.
"We will be flexible, we will be creative, we will work hard, we will train hard, we will continue to grow and we will develop together," said Clyborne. "And we are going to have fun doing it. So buckle up, 'cause it's going to be wild ride the next three years."
Posted: 2015-03-05 09:18 AM CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait- Staff Sgt. Cameron Gilliam is constantly moving--before, during and after a fight. His opponents usually stand in their corner, maybe move their arms and jump a little bit, but nothing like Gilliam. He paces back and forth at about a five-foot space near his corner. Only when the referee looks at him to begin the fight does he shuffle his feet. After the fight begins, he closes in on his opponent. They exchange a few jabs, some landing while others hit air. Then Gilliam goes in for a takedown. He wrestles his opponent to the ground, focusing more on achieving a good choke position than landing punches. His opponent focuses on punching Gilliam wherever his fist can land. His opponent tries to stand up, but he'll always land back on the ground. Eventually--whether it is one, two or three rounds in--Gilliam submits his opponent when he's most vulnerable.
Gilliam, a Woodbury, Minnesota, native and information technologist noncommissioned officer with the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade deployed to Camp Buehring, Kuwait, has been training in mixed martial arts for the past four years at Spartan Martial-Arts in Oakdale, Minnesota. Gilliam wrestled at Woodbury high school, but he never planned to start MMA.
Posted: 2015-03-04 09:39 AM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn.- A little more than a year after Chief Warrant Officer 2 James Houdek was severely injured in a farming accident near his Little Falls, Minn., home, he is back to work with the Minnesota National Guard and adapting to life with a prosthetic.
"When I came out of the first surgery, they were telling me that they were hoping that within a year I would be able to hold a pen," said Houdek. "Since then I've come a lot further, a lot more than what they had thought."
On Nov. 12, 2013, Houdek took a day off from his full-time job as a wage leader at Camp Ripley's Consolidated Maintenance Activity - South to harvest corn on his 60-acre hobby farm. Halfway through, he stopped to check on his machinery, leaving the tractor running. When he went to clear some corn out of the husking bin of the picker, his right arm was pulled into the shaft. As he was trying to pull his right hand out, his left hand got caught in another shaft, trapping both his arms in the machine.
Posted: 2015-02-25 03:15 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn.- Soldiers of the Norwegian Home Guard conducted inter-agency training with state and local law enforcement, Feb. 12-23, 2015, at Camp Ripley.
"The training conducted by the Norwegian Rapid Reaction Force, or RRF, is based on the National Guard's focus of inter-agency cooperation in time of need," said Lt. Col. Bryce Erickson of the Minnesota National Guard.
The training was organized as part of the American-Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange; which is in its 42nd consecutive year between the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard.
Posted: 2015-02-24 10:14 AM SNAASA, Norway- Airmen and Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard participating in the 42nd American - Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange (NOREX) retraced the steps of U.S. and Norwegian special operators 70 years ago who, during the final months of World War II, waged a successful sabotage campaign against German forces occupying Norway.
The U.S. Service members, along with their Norwegian counterparts, completed a 12-mile trek on skis through mountainous terrain, as well as a reconnaissance of the Jorstad bridge and simulated demolition using signal flares. The field training exercise concluded, February 19, 2015, with a ceremony in honor of those who destroyed the bridge to stop the movement of German troops through Norway and a wreath-laying in memory of the 80 people who perished, January 13, 1945, when a train derailed into the icy water several hours after the demolition.