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Minnesota National Guard
National Guard leaders bring training to the table

Minnesota National Guard CAMP RIPLEY, Minn- Leaders of the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment of Brainerd, joined in with staff of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team in conducting command and control training while on Camp Ripley, May 8-14, 2014

The purpose of the exercise was to develop the initial concepts for platoon-level combat certificate training over the training period

"Units are completing individual and collective tasks such as weapons qualification, gunnery and maneuver training so as to be ready for larger exercises in the future," said Capt Joseph Howe, eXportable Combat Training Capability project officer for the 1st ABCT

The eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) program is a training tool used by the Army National Guard since 2005 to train combat and support brigades throughout the US Armed Forces The XCTC was described by Guard officials as a cost-effective, time-efficient option for ensuring combat readiness training is available to Soldiers at or near their home stations

"Squad and platoon training at home station allows commanders to build cohesive teams while conducting accurate assessment of the units," said Maj Joseph Sanganoo, Camp Ripley Operations Officer "Waiting to build cohesive and proficient teams once mobilized wastes time and impedes the focus that should be placed on theater specific training," added Sanganoo

"Each battalion in the brigade was able to meet with the contractors from SRI and put together a day-by-day plan of action for their Soldiers," continued Howe

SRI contractors manage all planning, execution, and recovery of training exercises and assist in the creation and development of unit level scenario execution They provide exercise control, personnel and vehicle tracking devices, instrumented 3D after action review capabilities, administrative communication systems, battlefield immersion (including role players), battlefield effects (using simulated improvised explosive devices), portable village structures, video documentation, logistics support, and other related capabilities

These scalable live-training programs prove effective for forces pre-mobilizing for deployment to a variety of theaters of operation They are also effective in maintaining a sharp readiness level for units conducting state and community missions at home

"This exercise is a great step on our track towards training at the National Training Center in California in 2016," said Howe

May 28, 2014
by Staff Sgt Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs



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Mission Complete: Bearcats Finish NATO Exercise in Lithuania's Suwalki Gap

Posted: 2017-06-23  02:56 PM
Air Assault Saber Strike PABRADE, Lithuania - At the sound of 17 U.S. Army rotary wing aircraft humming through the air, Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry, in addition to Service members of five NATO Allied countries, load onto Black Hawk, Chinook and Apache helicopters, at Kazlu Ruda airstrip during the Saber Strike exercise, June 17, 2017. The multinational effort came together to conduct an air and ground assault in the Suwalki Gap to demonstrate the nations' capability to respond to any hostile act of a potential adversary.

"You could tell on everyone's faces that this was go time," said Sgt. Derrick Bruestle, a team leader for 2-136th CAB, also known as the Bearcats. "It wasn't just a training exercise to them anymore, it was a serious mission with real implications on the real world."

The magnitude of the exercise set in as the first bird lifted off the airstrip and started moving toward the objective in a staggered formation. Saber Strike is a U.S. Army Europe-led NATO exercise meant to exhibit a strengthened partnership of the military assets of the NATO Alliance.



Beyond NATO Commitments, MN State Partnership with Croatia Continues to Grow

Posted: 2017-06-22  10:25 AM
Saber Strike SPP PABRADE, Lithuania - Since 1996, the Minnesota National Guard and the Croatian Armed Forces have been partners in the National Guard's State Partnership Program. Beyond the bond of the NATO commitment, a mutual trust and unique bond has been forged amongst the warriors of each respective nation. From Camp Ripley to Karlovac, the soldiers have found a common cause of continuous improvement. Exercise after exercise, there has been a greater appreciation of one another's culture and customs.

You don't have to look to far to see this dynamic. When asked if he had ever worked with Minnesota National Guardsmen before, 1Lt Emanuel Hamer of the Croatian Armed Forces said, "This is my fourth time working with 2-136 "Bearcats," each time we grow closer and stronger. I feel like they are members of my unit. I'm glad I have this opportunity to learn new techniques and share some of our own with the Americans."



7 Nations, 4 Branches, 1 Mission; Saber Strike '17

Posted: 2017-06-20  02:14 PM
Saber Strike 17 PABRADE, Lithuania - As the sun begins to set on the Lithuanian countryside, the final touches are put on the camouflage netting designed to break the silhouette and conceal the position of the Tactical Action Center, or TAC, of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division on June 17, 2017. As part of the multinational exercise of Saber Strike '17, the 1/34th ABCT is providing support to the Air Assault Task Force Commander, Col. Charles Kemper.

As the first ever combined air and ground assault in the annual Saber Strike exercise, this year's exercise has set a milestone in testing the compatibility of seven nations and all military branches.

"We want to reassure all of our NATO Allies that we are in this together," said Kemper. "We're part of the team and we can demonstrate capability."



Minnesota Aviators complete successful eXportable Combat Training Capability exercise

Posted: 2017-06-20  08:30 AM
XCTC FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard's 2-147th Assault Helicopter Battalion wrapped up support for an eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) exercise at Fort Hood, Texas, recently. The unit was part of Task Force Ragnar, the exercise's aviation element, supporting the Tennessee National Guard's 278th Armored Calvary Regiment as they prepare for a rotation to the National Training Center in 2018.

"Our mission is to support a brigade element here," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 John Otremba, with the 2-147. "But I think our ultimate mission is to train for an austere environment which sets us up for success at NTC next year."

The task force conducted aviation support missions including air assault, sling load, deliberate attack, defensive positioning and key leader escorts. They also conducted aviation-specific training in personnel recovery, downed aircraft recovery, field maintenance and air traffic control operations.



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