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ST PAUL, Minn- Soldiers with the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Red Bull Infantry Division were on hand to witness the shipment of more than 22,000 books to the Ebola-stricken nation of Liberia The shipment comes as approximately 300 Red Bulls prepare to deploy this spring to Liberia to lead US military efforts to combat the West African Ebola outbreak
"This event gives us a chance to meet some of the other great Minnesotans that will be on the ground with us in West Africa for Operation United Assistance," said Army Maj Gen Neal Loidolt, commanding general of the Red Bulls "Building these relationships early will be important part of this unique mission"
The 34th ID will provide command and control of US military forces supporting the United States Agency for International Development's response to the outbreak in the region, and the Wing will provide tactical airlift support
"To send books to Liberia at this point in time, particularly after the Ebola crisis, I think is timely and will change lives," said Ahmed Sirleaf, the collaborating, learning and adapting advisor at the US Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia, who was on hand to accept the donation on behalf of the embassy's local Employee Staff Association Sirleaf, who grew up in Liberia, worked and attended school in Minnesota
According to Sirleaf, the shipment comes at a good time for the children of Liberia With schools closed to stem the spread of the disease, many of the nation's children are without reading materials
Books for Africa, the Minnesota organization behind the shipment, has sent more than 31 million books since 1988
According to a recent World Health Organization report, of the more than 20,000 reported Ebola cases, nearly 8,000 people have lost their lives in the region since the outbreak began
December 23, 2014 by Sgt 1st Class Ben Houtkooper
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."