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34th Red Bull Infantry Division participates in Warfighter
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan- The 34th Red Bull Infantry Division is being evaluated in the United States Army's largest Warfighter exercise ever conducted, marking the first time a division full-scale exercise includes a training audience of ten brigades
The exercise replicates Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental and Multinational operations in a full-spectrum contemporary operational environment
"A Warfighter is an eight-day simulated war," said Sgt Maj Robert Klinkner, chief operations sergeant for the exercise "The intent is to stress the division staff sections to exercise their internal processes to ensure the commanding general has a continued common operating picture It also forces the staff to provide the commanding general branch plans and sequences ensuring mission success"
At the helm of the exercise is the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division Commanding General, Brig Gen Neal Loidolt The Rosemount, Minn-based Headquarters, made up of 600 Soldiers, fills the roles of the division staff and warfighting functions They conduct intelligence gathering, movement and maneuver, sustainment and everything in between
The exercise involves 2,500 Service members from more than 20 units coming from 14 states which include: National Guard units from California, Colorado, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Washington, Wyoming; Army Reserve units from California and Colorado; and active Army units from Fort Sill, Okla and Fort Riley, Kan
The mission of the warfighter is to defeat a division tactical group and push them out of a ficticious country, to restore their local government and restore their essential services
The exercise itself consists of four days of active opposition, a one-day pause to discuss lessons learned, four more days of active opposition and a final after action review The preparation for the exercise is more than two years in the making
Capt Alvin Graham is the project officer for the warfighter and has been planning for the exercise since December 2012 Despite countless hours preparing to win the war, he knows that is not what a warfighter is about "The object is not to win, but to learn," said Graham
Layer after layer of planning and learning went into this exercise, from synchronizing units to developing the geographical layout of the 34th Red Bull's main field site
"When we received the mission that we were going to attend Warfighter we went to the SOP (standard operating procedures), to see how to lay out our field site But it had all the old Army tents We had the new Army's Standard Integrated Command Post System," said Klinkner "Sgt Maj Sulflow, Sgt Maj Karna and I started with a white piece of paper"
The design the three Sergeants Major developed for the massive tent set up allows for the most positive flow of traffic and information The unit tested the tent layout at Camp Ripley last September, and has since been praised for the effectiveness of their design Klinkner says the 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, has adopted the Red Bull's layout in their own standard operating procedure
"On the second of June, I walked onto a gravel parking lot," said Klinkner "Eleven of us laid the floor in six hours, over the next three days, 30 Soldiers put up the tents while another 30 ran communication lines"
The tents they set up are rapidly deployable high mobility tactical operations centers, simply called "Drash" by the Soldiers recognizing the company who makes them The 34th Infantry Division tent system includes nearly 14,000 square feet of space
Within the tent system nearly a hundred battle command systems are setup, and close to 200 administrative computer systems are manned 24 hours a day
"This training event is designed to increase the division's capabilities in executing unified land operations in support of strategic national objectives," said Graham
For leaders in the command group this exercise replicates real war In just a few hours the Warfighter Division Operations Officer, Col Robert Intress made battlefield decisions for multiple brigades, answered media questions from role players and briefed real-life distinguished visitors, to include an elected official and general officers about the exercise
In addition to the simulated war, there is a real-life mission involved when it comes to taking care of 2,500 Service members Headquarters Battalion, 34th Infantry Division Commander Lt Col Carl Fassbender leads a 30 person mayor's cell, which works with Mission Training Complex Leavenworth, or MTC, to provide transportation, meals, lodging and care for the troops involved in the exercise
"Our mission is to track personnel, be the liaison to the medical section, oversee Red Cross message procedures and coordinate an awards program for the exercise," said Chief Warrant Officer, Hiedi Allen She collects personnel status reports from all ten brigades and complies a daily personnel report
"The mayor's cell includes an operations section, logistic support, a Chaplain team, a medical team, a joint visitor's bureau, transportation, billeting and command leadership," said Allen
For the Soldiers of the 34th and their brothers and sisters in neighboring National Guard units, the Warfighter completes their annual training requirement For many it is an experience of a lifetime and one that will prepare them for real world scenarios in the future
June 24, 2014 by 1st Lt Melanie Nelson
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
Posted: 2017-03-10 08:50 AM LITCHFIELD, Minn. -Bruce Cottington, a Navy veteran of WWII and Korea, donated a bronze bust of Gen. John W. Vessey, Jr. to the Litchfield National Guard unit during the armory's public open house event March 4. Cottington, a Litchfield resident, commands the Minnesota Chapter of the Veterans of Underage Military Service. VUMS members enlisted in the military prior to the minimum age requirement in order to serve their country during WWII. Cottington received the bust from Vessey, a fellow VUMS member. Both enlisted in the military at the age of 16.
The highlight of the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion open house was the unveiling of the sculpture. The unit was very supportive when Cottington proposed donating the sculpture. The Litchfield community has always been very supportive of the National Guard over the years, so the open house was a chance to say 'thanks' to their neighbors. "This was a great opportunity to honor Bruce and to honor Gen. Vessey," said B Co., 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion Commander, Capt. Seth Goreham. Bravo Company also has a tight relationship with the local American Legion and VFW. Many Litchfield citizens are former members of Bravo Company, or the unit's predecessors A Co, 682nd Engineer Battalion, and the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company.
Posted: 2017-03-08 03:29 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The garrison command team of Camp Ripley, family, friends and colleagues from the Minnesota National Guard attended a Change of Responsibility ceremony between Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Worden and Command Sgt. Maj. Matt Erickson, March 5, 2017, at Camp Ripley.
The ceremony was an official "passing of the sword" from one senior noncommissioned officer to the next and assumption of the duties and responsibilities that go along with the position of Garrison Command Sergeant Major.
As with many military ceremonies those in attendance welcomed Erickson as a new member of the team and bid farewell, recognized and thanked Worden for his service.
Posted: 2017-02-22 09:59 AM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Norwegian youths Stian Dahl and Haavard Engen received the Camp Ripley Garrison Commander's coin from Col. Scott St Sauver February 19, 2017, in recognition for reacting to a vehicle accident they witnessed earlier that week.
As part of the U.S.-Norway Reciprocal Troop Exchange, Norwegian youths ages 19-20 are matched up with a host family in order to spend an evening experiencing American culture. In most situations the "Buddy Weekend" as it's called allows the youths to go shopping, attend events and have home-cook meals along with their host family.
"We are able to match up youth members with families all over the state," said Staff Sgt. Tim Krouth, Buddy Weekend organizer. "Lots of the families have hosted one or two of our Norwegian friends for several years in a row now, it a great way to relax and see some of Minnesota."
Posted: 2017-02-21 01:25 PM HALTDALEN, Norway - After two days at a base camp near Haltdalen, Norway, Minnesota National Guardsmen participating in the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange were ready for the most challenging aspect of their four-day field training exercise - a ski march up the mountain.
It was Day three of the FTX, meaning members of the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange had slowly adjusted to surviving and thriving while living in a winter environment and also honed their skills on cross country skills well enough to begin a climb that would take nearly three hours.
"Our goal was to get you to know how to use the winter, see how the Norwegians use the winter, and how we survive the winter so we can conduct combat," said Vidar Aune, one of several members of Home Guard 12 guiding the Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen during their training here. "By getting the experience living outside in the snow, you manage to survive it and handle it quite well."