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Minnesota National Guard
Funding rift pits active-duty military against Guard, Reserve (video)

Minnesota National Guard Military's postwar belt-tightening will be felt at the local level, National Guard warns

National Guard armories could be shuttered and Minnesota towns hit by tornadoes or floods couldn't count on a Guard soldier to stand watch There may be fewer National Guard helicopters to help during forest fires

A widening -- and unusually polarized -- rift over funding is pitting the country's active-duty military against its Guard and Reserve comrades in arms

After more than a decade of war in which the Guard and Reserves battled side by side with their active-duty colleagues, the fight over funding in a postwar environment is quickly getting ugly It's over who will take more of a hit from cuts in troop size and funding and who provides more bang for the buck

It was made more intense recently when the Army's top general appeared to dismiss the role of the country's Guard units, saying that Guard soldiers "only train 39 days a year" and that they were not "interchangeable" with the active Army, which he said maintains a higher level of readiness

The comments from Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno drew the ire of Congress, including Rep Tim Walz, D-Minn, a retired command sergeant major of the Minnesota Guard Walz and Rep Duncan Hunter, a former Marine who still serves in the Marine Reserve, called Odierno's comments "irresponsible"

At its heart, the argument is about who will emerge victorious in a peacetime world The active-duty Army now has about 540,000 soldiers and is scheduled to reduce its ranks to 490,00 by 2017 At the national level, the Guard's current troop levels of 350,000 could be reduced by sequestration and other cuts to 315,00 by 2017

Minnesota could lose 1,000

In Minnesota, that could mean the loss of about 1,000 positions in the National Guard's 13,000-member force Leaders of the Minnesota National Guard warn that the consequences could hit some of the most visible aspects of the Guard's domestic mission

In addition, the active-duty Army has proposed assuming all tactical aviation functions, which translates to taking control of such things as the Apache attack helicopter, which is armed with machine guns and missiles

The threats involve the National Guard's Apache units in 10 states, where the Army has suggested a plan to move the Apaches, the world's most advanced attack helicopters, and Lakota light-utility helicopters from the Guard to active-duty forces

In Florida this week, Guard leaders also raised concerns about the loss of as many as 1,000 Guard members, 10 percent of its force

The Minnesota Guard does not have attack helicopters If Guard units from other states are forced to give up theirs, though, it's likely the Minnesota Guard will be forced turn over some of its helicopters, like its Black Hawks, to compensate for the loss

"You might not see as many helicopters available to fight fires or floods," said Brigadier Gen Neal Loidolt, commander of the Guard's 34th Infantry Division "You might not see as many soldiers available to provide security at tornadoes or walk the dikes of the Red River Valley It could also mean that areas in towns in our state where you've been accustomed to seeing soldiers in units, you might not see soldiers in units in those places anymore"

Each state, the three US territories and the District of Columbia has an Army National Guard The units are sovereign organizations responding to state leadership But they can be called up, or "federalized," to active duty during wartime

In the past 10 years, they made up 28 percent of the 23 million service members who deployed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan The Minnesota Guard's 34th Infantry Division's 1st Brigade was the longest-serving brigade combat team of any unit during the Iraq war, when it was activated for 22 months and spent a total of 16 months in Iraq

"I suspect that would not have happened if it weren't a comparable or more than comparable Army brigade combat team," Loidolt said

'Big Army' vs locals

Odierno's comments last month renewed a traditional schism between "Big Army" and the Guard and Reserve that many thought had disappeared

Forty minutes into a wide-ranging question-and-answer period at the National Press Club, Odierno said the Guard would not be capable of taking on more of the active-duty Army's responsibilities because the full-time force brings a higher level of readiness, which, he said, costs more money to maintain

Shortly afterward, the president of the National Guard Association of the United States, the Guard's lobbying arm, called the remarks "disrespectful and simply not true"

Walz said in an interview Friday that Odierno has yet to respond to his letter A spokesman for the Pentagon said Odierno was traveling and unavailable for comment

In the letter, Walz, a co-chairman of the House National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus, pointed to figures that he said show that the cost to maintain one active-duty component infantry brigade combat team is about twice that of a reserve component because Guard units don't require such things as subsidized base housing, they train less often, and they are called on only when needed

"This is quantifiable," Walz said "When we're making sure the first priority is this nation's national security, but making sure it is in the most cost effective manner, you can't dispute the facts To make the comment that they are not ready sets the wrong tone"

Walz remembers a time when the Guard was regarded as nothing more than weekend warriors, left with aging equipment or sometimes no equipment at all At one point after the first Gulf War, Walz said his Guard artillery unit had to conduct drills by taping the outline of a howitzer cannon on the gym floor and using -toilet paper rolls as the powder charge

"That was a horrible way to do business, it was a horrible way to do national security and it was very wasteful," Walz said "It should not be a pick-and-choose, but when it got tight it appears the Pentagon slipped back into its ways"

Article by: MARK BRUNSWICK , Star Tribune
Updated: February 1, 2014 - 9:28 AM
Article source with video
http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/243032791.html



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Minnesota Guardsmen learn survival skills, train with Norwegian counterparts

Posted: 2018-07-03  01:36 PM
NOREX 45 Over the course of 10 days, 100 Soldiers and Airmen from the Minnesota National Guard who traveled to Norway June 17-26, 2018, for the 45th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange learned valuable survival skills and shared their knowledge with members of the Norwegian Home Guard. This year's exchange was the second to take place during the summer months in the history of the longest-running military partnership between two nations.

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The 45th exchange got off to a late start, with flight delays causing the trip to be shortened from its normal length of two weeks. The delay meant that the Minnesota Guardsmen jumped right into training, heading out to the field after just a few hours of sleep.



133rd Airlift Wing Emphasizes Combat Readiness Training

Posted: 2018-06-29  10:48 AM
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The exercise, tagged as Iron Ore, was designed test the Airmen abilities to set up operations at an unfamiliar location and receive in depth training on Ability-To-Survive and Operate (ATSO) principles while supporting airlift and aeromedical flight operations.

To ensure mission success and readiness, Airmen had to complete training at home station prior to leaving for Alpena. Some of this training included weapons qualification, gas mask fit testing, Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) familiarization, self-aid and buddy care and career field training.



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.



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