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Landmark year for the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn- 2014 was a landmark year for the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division In accordance with the Army's 2020 Force Structure Realignment, the 1/34th ABCT was one of the first Army National Guard brigade combat teams to implement major organizational changes prior to 2015
On Oct 18, 2014, the 1/34th Brigade Special Troops Battalion completed its reorganization into the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion The additional engineer capabilities support the Army's goal of having the Guard's primary fighting formations match those in the active Army as self-contained combined arms formations
The brigade also added a third artillery battery to the 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery and entered an aligned for training relationship with the 1st Battalion, 145th Armor Regiment from the Ohio Army National Guard
In conjunction with finalizing its restructuring, the 1/34th ABCT has been preparing for two major training events in April and May of 2015 The first week of February was dedicated to a Communications Exercise (COMMEX) involving all of the subordinate battalions to the brigade This was the second of these exercises which have been vital in validating fixes to personnel, software, hardware and staff battle drills in preparation for the Brigade Warfighter Exercise at Camp Ripley Training Center in April
"The first COMMEX in November was system oriented," explained Lt Col Tadd Vanyo, Executive Officer for the 1/34th ABCT "We did not test Soldier operators We watched the systems talk to see where there are faults This second COMMEX is more of a staff exercise to put operators behind the systems and communicate tactical information as we will during the Brigade Warfighter Exercise"
A BWFX provides a virtual battlefield with realistic demands that are designed to hone battle management skills The exercise also allows brigade staff to establish a command post with all mission command systems and gives the staff the opportunity to validate its standard operating procedures before the 1/34th ABCT's participation in the Army National Guard's eXportable Combat Training Capability
"Where warfighter includes the brigade and battalion headquarters staff, XCTC focuses more on battalion maneuver and gunnery training," Vanyo continued
XCTC will be held at Camp Ripley from May through August of 2015 This is the first of six Army National Guard XCTC events to be held this year The 1/34th ABCT will be joined by the 67th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade of the Nebraska Army National Guard and the 196th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade of the South Dakota National Guard this summer Designed to certify company proficiency, XCTC will incorporate force-on-force maneuver training, live fire ranges and contingency-based scenarios
"It's a crawl-walk-run process," said Sgt Maj Darin Mjoen, Operations Sergeant Major for the 1/34th ABCT "Right now we're in the crawl phase where we have to understand the mission and the process for tasking, commanding and fighting the fight"
Following XCTC, the brigade will participate in a 28-day National Training Center rotation at Fort Irwin, Calif, in 2016 Because of its excellent readiness posture, the 1/34th ABCT was picked to be the Army National Guard brigade invited to train at NTC next year
"At NTC there are going to be a lot of eyes on us and its imperative we take our lessons learned from the Warfighter Exercise and XCTC rotation and incorporate them into our unit training plans for 2016," Mjoen said
2015 will be a crucial period for the 1/34th ABCT Upcoming events like BWFX and XCTC will test the more than 5,000 Soldiers within the brigade and better prepare the unit for unified land operations through combined arms maneuver and wide area security
February 13, 2015 by Sgt Linsey Williams
1st Armored Brigade Combat Team 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."