/*********************************************** * 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 ***********************************************/
History
Minnesota National Guard
5 Minnesota Guard members wounded in suicide attack in Afghanistan

Minnesota National Guard Litchfield-based Guard unit works out of targeted compound

In the five months since they arrived in southern Afghanistan, members of a Minnesota-based National Guard unit have gone outside the wire to clear roads of mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) without a major incident in one of the most dangerous regions remaining in the country

But on Monday, a suicide attack on their base carried out by suspected Taliban combatants left five members of Litchfield, Minn-based unit wounded, including one serious enough to be airlifted to Germany for treatment

One American soldier, Chief Warrant Officer Edward Balli, 42, of Monterey, Calif, was killed in the attack, Pentagon officials said Wednesday The assault occurred Monday about 10:30 am on a base in Kandahar Province, said Lt. Col. Kevin Olson of the Minnesota National Guard As the US military presence in Afghanistan winds to a close after more than 13 years, the Minnesota National Guard continues to play a role in a country that has still proven dangerous for US troops About 250 Minnesota Guard members are currently deployed in Afghanistan

The injuries from the attack on Monday are some of the most serious against Minnesota Guard members in Afghanistan since Specialist George Cauley was killed in October 2009 when his truck struck an explosive device He is one of 28 service members with Minnesota ties to be killed in Afghanistan

Officials were not disclosing identifying information about the Guard members from the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company or their conditions

But the mother of one of the wounded Minnesota soldiers said she got a brief telephone call from her son, Staff Sgt Robbie Sheets, saying he had been hit in the leg and back by shrapnel

"He said, 'We got ambushed' Robbie kept saying, 'We're all alive, we're all alive,' " said Kim Schwich, of Green Isle, Minn "That mother instinct is very strong I told him, 'I'm glad to hear your voice, but really, are you OK?' "

One airlifted out

One Minnesota Guard member was flown to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany for treatment and "is recovering," Olson said The others are recovering in Afghanistan, he said
Sheets told his mother he would be remaining in Afghanistan with his "comrades"

For Schwich, the injuries to the Guard members come at a time when attention to the conflict in Afghanistan seems to be waning back home

"After a while, people just get tired of hearing it," she said "The media tends to pull away That doesn't mean the problem has gotten any smaller I hate to tell you how many people have said, 'Really, we're still over there?' "

When word spread of injuries, families back home assumed it was from an explosive device on a mission, Schwich said

A YouTube video shows the intensity of the unit's assignment in a region of the country known as the birthplace of the Taliban On a mission in Kandahar Province in November, they encountered small-arms fire and 14 suspected IEDs during a 60-hour operation to clear routes suspected of being fortified by Taliban forces

Members of the 849th come largely from Minnesota communities and a few cities in Wisconsin Their mission in Afghanistan is to clear routes to ensure the mobility of coalition forces They also carry out limited infantry operations

There had been no combat-related injuries before Monday's incident

There were 95 members of the 849th in this one-year deployment, which began in July with training before their arrival in Afghanistan

Of the 250 Minnesota Guard members in Afghanistan, 150 are with the Duluth-based 114th Transportation Co

Members of the Minnesota Air Guard also have been involved in flying missions in Afghanistan More than 60 airmen with the Minneapolis-based 133rd Airlift Wing and the Duluth-based 148th Fighter Wing remain deployed in various locations in Afghanistan

Attack at the gate

The attack began when a small truck packed with explosives drove to the main gate of Forward Operating Base Pasab, according Lt. Col. Will Griffin, of NATO's International Security Assistance Force

The driver set off a powerful blast, killing himself and the American soldier, Jamal Agha, governor of the Zhari district, told the New York Times

A minivan then immediately sped to the gate, and eight gunmen in military fatigues and wearing suicide vests jumped out and tried to storm the base, officials told the Times

"There was moderate damage to the outer perimeter of the base," Griffin said "However, the base was quickly secured and all enemy forces were killed during their attack"

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the assault

paulwalsh@startribune.com 612-673-4482 mbrunswick@startribune.com 612-673-4434
Article source
http://www.startribune.com/local/241485111.html?page=2&c=y



Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

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.



Guard Heritage Suffers with Loss of Artillery Unit

Posted: 2017-10-04  11:22 AM
ETAB ANOKA, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard lost one of its most historically significant units when the 151st Artillery's E Battery, (Target Acquisition) cased its colors in a ceremony at the Anoka High School Aug. 19, 2017.

The Target Acquisition Battery (ETAB), 151st Field Artillery is one of the oldest and most decorated units in the Minnesota National Guard and the 34th Infantry Division. "Both Minnesota and the Division lose the proud lineage that goes back to Civil War days, through WW1 and WW2, and had a significant amount of battle streamers," said 151st Field Artillery Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Cornwell.

The 151st Field Artillery draws its lineage from the 1st Regiment, Minnesota Heavy Artillery of 1864 which fought two major campaigns in Tennessee during the Civil War.



In one month: Minnesota Guardsmen support Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

Posted: 2017-09-29  02:25 PM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - In the span of a few weeks, three major hurricanes hit different parts of the southern United States, causing widespread damage and destruction and requiring the response of agencies around the country. The Minnesota National Guard is one of the many organizations that have responded, sending Soldiers and Airmen to Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

"This is the most gratifying deployment of my career," said Capt. Jeremy Maxey with the 133rd Airlift Wing who was called back from his vacation early to go to the Virgin Islands. "It means a lot to be able to actually directly help people. It's why I serve. Throughout my career I've deployed numerous times, but this is the one where you actually see the people you serve."

The start of the month brought the first request for assistance. On Sept. 1, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 11 personnel from the St. Cloud-based B Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment left for Texas following Hurricane Harvey to transport personnel and equipment in support of response efforts.



Article archive
 
top