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"While my gunner is firing on a target, my tank commander is engaging a truck using his 50 cal, and I see rounds flying from our wingman who's engaging a tank way out there," said Spc Ted Coy, an Abrams driver with 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry Regiment "Seeing all the tracer rounds cross while our platoon is firing at different targets at the same time is one of the coolest things I've ever seen"
The gunnery and maneuver exercise that Coy and his platoon conducted was one of the many integrated training events the 1st ABCT has been conducting during its Exportable Combat Training Capabilities exercises - a training period spanning from May 2015 to August 2015
"Normally platoons are focused on just a gunnery or maneuver mindset," said Sgt Steven Wysocki, an Abrams gunner with 2-136th CAB "During XCTC, crewmembers are put to the test combining both aspects in a live-fire setting
"To see our last three years of training come together in the past couple days has been amazing," said Wysocki
The XCTC exercise, supported by Soldiers from the active duty's First Army, is being used as a tool to improve total force operations among the seven battalions that make up the 1st ABCT Providing observers and controllers, which oversee training and provide mentorship, First Army also directs an opposition force to throw another wrinkle into an already-complex training event
"Without the opposition force from the First Army, our Soldiers wouldn't have gotten the level of training they've been getting," said Lt Col Joe Sharkey, commander of the 134th Brigade Support Battalion "Our Soldiers need this experience of operating in a more realistic tactical environment"
To test their own mission-essential capabilities in a combat environment, Soldiers from the 134th BSB took part in a dramatic mass casualty event The battalion's medics were assessed on their ability to suppress an enemy attack while treating and transporting casualties
"They've done a tremendous job," said Sharkey "Seeing my battalion operating in the field makes me more assured that our Soldiers can get the job done"
As XCTC comes to an end in August, the clock starts ticking for the final preparation and adjustments to be made before the 1/34th ABCT sets out for a rotation at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, in 2016
Posted: 2017-04-28 12:38 PM MANKATO, Minn. - Commissioned leaders of the Minnesota National Guard convened for the 112th General Conference of the National Guard Association of Minnesota at the Verizon Wireless Center and Hilton Garden Inn, Mankato, on April 22, 2017.
The annual gathering of association members - who serve as advocates for the needs of Soldiers, Airmen and their families - includes a business meeting, commanders march, formal dining event and transfer of responsibility to the chapter's new president.
The day's event began with a business meeting, which focused on the association's mission of educating and informing legislators on the issues facing the current and future role of the National Guard in serving Minnesota communities. The strategic planning meeting was attended by Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, his staff and unit commanders.
Posted: 2017-04-26 02:09 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Department of Defense announced that Camp Ripley was selected as the winner of the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation.
The awards recognize individuals, teams and installations for their exceptional environmental achievements and innovative, cost-effective environmental practices.
"The winners' efforts strengthen the Department of Defense's position as a resourceful environmental steward, both at home and abroad, and demonstrate our continued commitment to fulfilling mission needs through advanced environmental practices and technologies," stated James A. MacStravic, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
Posted: 2017-04-26 10:57 AM COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Nicquie Neely has been working with victims of sexual assault for four years in the Minnesota National Guard and also volunteers as a victim advocate in the community. As a victim advocate, it's her job to believe and support victims through a difficult process that can often involve extensive medical care and legal proceedings.
"Ever since I joined the Guard and heard about the SHARP program and learned what a victim advocate was, I always wanted to be one," said Neely. "And then I learned that you had to be an E-6 to be in that position, so the minute I got promoted I asked my commander if I could go to the training."
Neely is a combat medic and the full-time training and administration NCO with Company C, 134th Brigade Support Battalion. In addition to military victim advocate training, Neely also attends regular training with the civilian organization she volunteers for - SOS Sexual Violence Services in Ramsey County.
Posted: 2017-04-24 10:43 AM Washington - Members of the Minnesota National Guard and the Air Force Reserve traveled to Washington D.C. with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (also known as the JCRC), to visit the Holocaust Museum, April 4, 2017, to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Also, traveling with this group were St. Paul and Minneapolis police officers along with students from various high schools around the state. For those in uniform that day, it was an opportunity to see, hear and experience the stories of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
Each Service member who attended was asked to bring back a summary of their experience in the form of a presentation, professional discussion or briefing to their respective unit in order to help other Guard members better understand and remember that horrible event, to honor the courage of the victims and survivors, and to remain vigilant as members of the U.S. military.
"The honor and privilege of accompanying members of the Minnesota National Guard to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. met so many goals," said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the JCRC. "I wanted to reinforce the importance of the commitment of the U.S. military to democracy. After all, it was the Allies that defeated Nazi Germany and ultimately put an end to the Holocaust."