| Minnesota Guard will not be going to Liberia, after all
ST PAUL, Minn- As the number of West Africans who have become infected with Ebola drops dramatically, members of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Red Bull Infantry Division are learning that they will not be going to Liberia to support the US military's mission there
Col Kevin Olson, Guard spokesman, said Saturday night that the division -- which was going to Liberia in support of Operation United Assistance -- is no longer required
"The Rosemount-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division was one of the units identified to deploy, and has informed the nearly 300 soldiers preparing for this mission that they will not be required to support the effort to contain the Ebola virus disease in West Africa," Olson said in a statement
Last November, the Guard announced that nearly 700 members of the 34th Red Bull would be deployed to Liberia for a six-month period They were expected to arrive in April and depart in late fall That mission was later reduced to nearly 300 soldiers
The US military has sent about 3,000 troops to West Africa to build treatment centers But the outbreak started to subside even before the first US centers were completed The epidemic has killed at least 8,675 people
The Minnesota mission was intended to support humanitarian relief and not direct treatment of Ebola patients The Red Bulls had been assigned to assume command from the 101st Airborne Division based in Fort Campbell, Ky The 101st has been overseeing construction of the treatment centers, which the 34th was to take over
The Minnesota Guard members had undergone their initial training, which included making sure they had the proper immunization, were cleared medically and that their paperwork was in order, Olson said If the mission had gone through, the Minnesota soldiers would have gone through extensive training at Camp Ripley near Little Falls and at Fort Hood, Texas
Asked if there was perhaps some relief that the Liberia mission had been canceled, Olson responded: "Our soldiers stand ready to answer the call of our state and our nation In the past, we've come forward for both peacekeeping and war fighting"
To show how things have changed in West Africa, Sierra Leone plans to reopen schools in March, following Guinea, which opened them last week Liberia is set to reopen schools on Feb 2
Staff writer Mark Brunswick and the Associated Press contributed to this report
January 24, 2015
Mark Brunswick, Star Tribune
Camp Ripley strikes first before wildfire season
Posted: 2017-03-24 10:19 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Every spring Camp Ripley begins its annual controlled burn program to help reduce the risk of wildfire during training.
"Usually the burns are completed every spring before the summer annual training season begins," said Tim Notch, training area coordinator on Camp Ripley. "However, the warmer weather conditions provide a nice opportunity for preventative burns earlier this season."
As in years past Camp Ripley will conduct controlled burns on approximately 13,000 acres of the 53,000-acre military reservation. The burns are done in coordination with the staffs of the Camp Ripley Department of Public Works and the Camp Ripley Environmental Department along with support from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Minnesota Guardsman earns recognition through Leads 2 Enlistment program
Posted: 2017-03-23 09:46 AM
DULUTH, Minn. - Pfc. Trevor Nelson received the Minnesota Distinguished Recruiting Ribbon and a Minnesota Recruiting and Retention Battalion medallion for excellence from Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Serbus, March 18, 2017, at the Duluth Armory. Nelson earned these awards as part of the online referral system, Leads 2 Enlistment for referring four friends who have joined the Minnesota National Guard.
"I talked to some buddies in my school about the Guard. They liked the benefits, so I put their info in the app and let my recruiter take over." said Nelson. "I thought it would be fun to serve with friends and help them figure out their path in life."
Nelson is currently a senior at Cloquet Senior High School and assigned to the Recruit Sustainment Program in Duluth. He attended basic training at Fort Benning in the summer of 2016 with follow-on training in the summer of 2017 to become an infantryman.
Litchfield and Local Veteran Honor Gen. John Vessey at Armory Open House
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.
Camp Ripley welcomes new command sergeant major
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.