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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Guard will not be going to Liberia, after all

Minnesota National Guard 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
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http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/289696571.html



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Operation Future Warrior, rain or shine

Posted: 2017-05-24  01:12 PM
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Young men and women who volunteered to join the Minnesota Army National Guard got to experience a small taste of basic training and military training during the three-day event.

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Posted: 2017-05-23  08:03 AM
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Command Sgt. Maj. Mitchell Hellkamp assumed duties as the unit's senior noncommissioned officer (NCO) from Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Cunnien, who served in the position for the past two years and will be retiring from the military later this year.

"Command Sgt. Maj. Cunnien is one of the finest leaders that I have worked with in my career," said Col. Shawn Manke, commander of the 34th CAB. "He sets the example for all noncommissioned officers and Soldiers to emulate. He is a true professional, as a visible leader and teacher for the Soldiers of the combat aviation brigade. We're grateful for his many years of service, and we wish him well as he closes out his military career and enters the next chapter in his life."



Families recognized for sacrifices during Guard deployment

Posted: 2017-05-22  10:57 AM
Welcome Home ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Soldiers of B Co., 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion were welcomed home May 20, 2017, at the River's Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota. During the ceremony, families were recognized for their sacrifices during the year-long deployment.

"I often tell Soldiers and truly believe that as hard as our jobs are at times, our families have the harder job at home," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, commander of the 2-147 Assault Helicopter Battalion. "Because Army family members have a unique burden that many of their friends and families cannot understand, they form family readiness groups, or FRGs, to share information and provide support to one another."

The company's FRG leader, Rhiannon Knutson, wife of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Tom Knutson, was in constant contact with the unit's families and went above and beyond what is normally expected of FRG leaders, said the unit's readiness non-commissioned officer, Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wood.



Camp Ripley's Training Support Unit keeps the base running

Posted: 2017-05-16  12:41 PM
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"The Training Support Unit's (TSU) primary focus is to support unit training requirements and ensure smooth operations here on Camp Ripley and the Arden Hills Army Training Site in the metro," said Sgt. 1st Class Terry Clabo, Training Support Unit Readiness NCO.

Camp Ripley features numerous ranges and state-of-the-art training facilities to support military, law enforcement, first responder and inter-agency partner training requirements. The installation is structured to have a full complement of automated small arms and large caliber weapon ranges as well as several specialized training facilities.



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