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Minnesota National Guard
Largest Minnesota National Guard subordinate command leads U.S. units in readiness

Command Center BLOOMINGTON, Minn- While 2014 is coming to a close, the Minnesota National Guard is looking to finalize the structural reorganizations that have been implemented over the past year

As Col Robert Intress, commander of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division put it, "We're on the precipice of a very big period of change"

Already the largest of the Minnesota Army National Guard's four major subordinate commands, the 1/34th ABCT has seen a new field artillery battery added to their 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery, as well as the addition of the 1st Battalion, 145th Armored Regiment out of Stowe, Ohio, which is aligned for training The 1/34th Brigade Special Troops Battalion was also converted into the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion, adding additional engineering capabilities to the unit

"There are three types of brigade combat teams in the Army Force Structure - armored, infantry, and Stryker," Intress explains "Each come with the correct types of support elements embedded within their force structure so that they can be mobilized, deployed and utilized in an austere environment They are self-supporting, so they are 'plug-and-play' into any larger organization"

That self-supporting capacity, however, would not be possible without a trained and capable force In terms of readiness, the 1/34th ABCT was number one in the Army National Guard force structure

"That level of readiness will pay us some huge dividends over the next two years," said Intress

The brigade has begun its progression towards a high-level exercise at the National Training Center (NTC) in Fort Irwin, Calif Before that takes place in 2016, there are two other events that the Soldiers will be participating in first

In April 2015, the brigade will conduct a Brigade Warfighter Exercise (BWFX) at Camp Ripley Training Center in order to provide a virtual battlefield with realistic demands designed to hone battle management skills and point the 1/34th ABCT in the right direction for its Exportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) Rotation and NTC Rotation

"Following the training of our warfighter where we're doing the validation and training of our battalion and brigade staff officers and their commanders, we'll be doing an XCTC rotation that will be done up at Camp Ripley," said Intress "It will be a 21-day annual training period for our battalions and it's really focused on what we call platoon-collective training, really getting after the Army mission that our small units are directed to do"

The capstone of this training series will be an opportunity to perform at the NTC This rotation is usually reserved for active-duty units The 1/34th ABCT will be the only National Guard brigade going to the NTC in 2016 The opportunity is not only unique for a National Guard unit, but also beneficial for tough, realistic training to help improve the force and prepare for success

"The training requirements are going to be many, but the reward at the end of that NTC is really second to none," Intress emphasized "It will be a highlight and true validation of everything that our Soldiers have put forth in their military career in the most rigorous training environment that the Army can replicate"

October 5, 2014
by Sgt Linsey Williams
1st Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs



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Litchfield and Local Veteran Honor Gen. John Vessey at Armory Open House

Posted: 2017-03-10  08:50 AM
Vessey Bust 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.



Camp Ripley welcomes new command sergeant major

Posted: 2017-03-08  03:29 PM
CSM Erickson 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.



Norwegian youth recognized for response to vehicle accident

Posted: 2017-02-22  09:59 AM
NOREX youth 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."



To the top of the mountain and back, NOREX 44 members embrace the Norwegian winter

Posted: 2017-02-21  01:25 PM
NOREX FTX 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."



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