| Funding rift pits active-duty military against Guard, Reserve (video)
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
Learning to instruct professionalism and discipline
Posted: 2017-04-19 02:15 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - It was a challenging and rewarding two weeks for members attending the Army National Guard Funeral Honors Instructor Course, April 1-14, at Camp Ripley.
Soldiers of National Guard units from all over the United States took part in the course designed to educate team leaders in a variety of funeral honor detail tasks, traditions and responsibilities.
"It's a stressful course, but for our job, we have to be prepared to do our job under stress; and we all really benefitted from that," said Class Honor Grad, Sgt. Ryan Valline of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.
Chaplains support Muslim Soldiers by finding common ground
Posted: 2017-04-18 01:42 PM
ROSEMOUNT, Minn. - The Soldiers of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division had a unique opportunity to speak with one of the U.S. Army's five Muslim chaplains April 7-10, 2017. U.S. Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Khallid Shabazz, I Corps deputy command chaplain, travelled from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Minnesota to provide professional development for the division chaplain section.
"Soldiers perform at a higher level when they are spiritually fit," said Minnesota National Guard Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Buddy Winn, the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division command chaplain. "And, it's our job as chaplains to make sure Soldiers have their spiritual needs met, regardless of faith. Having Chaplain Shabazz here as a Muslim Chaplain provides the diversity in religious background that we can't provide internally."
There are five major religions supported by the chaplaincy: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, but over 200 religions are recognized. Chaplains can only perform services for their particular religion, but they can provide support for all Soldiers, regardless of their faith.
Howling with pride - Minnesota Service members honored by MN Timberwolves
Posted: 2017-04-14 04:25 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - For the third consecutive year, Minnesota service members were honored with on-court recognition and other VIP treatments as part of the Minnesota Timberwolves Heroes of the Pack Program.
"We are very appreciative for what the military does for us, and we wanted to give something back to honor the military," said Roger McCabe, who along with wife, Nancy, is a driving force behind the recognitions through the FastBreak Foundation and Roger & Nancy McCabe Foundation. "This is our way of doing it."
Having lived through the Vietnam War - and with Roger and Nancy both having parents who served - the two philanthropists decided a few years back to build upon existing recognition efforts already underway by the Timberwolves. And with that, recognitions that were typically happening at Target Center in November expanded to include Minnesota Service members from all branches at every home game - a total of 41 honorees per season.
Red Bulls move vehicles for partnership exercises
Posted: 2017-04-12 03:22 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Soldiers of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division wrapped up a week-long rail load operation Sunday at Camp Ripley in preparation for several upcoming international training exercises.
Vehicle crewmen from the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry based in Moorhead, worked with railroad personnel from BNSF Railway to stage, load and secure their equipment in preparation for movement.
"It was a lot of work and lessons learned, but it was awesome seeing the completed product," said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Reiten, readiness non-commissioned officer for C Co., 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.