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Dual status commander clears a path for unified disaster response
The Minnesota National Guard's Vigilant Guard exercise stepped up its real-world relevance on Aug 24, 2015, when the Commanding General of the 34th Infantry Division, Maj Gen Neal Loidolt, was appointed as the exercise's Dual Status Commander
The magnitude of the simulated incidents integrated into the Vigilant Guard exercise - including a chemical spill from an overturned railcar, massive landslides, flooding and other events that could affect Minnesota communities - prompted a fictional declaration of a state of emergency by the federal government The scale of the emergency response, in addition to federal assets being committed to the disaster relief efforts, necessitated the need for a single commander to coordinate military efforts
"Dual Status Commanders are authorized to command both federal and state military forces," said Navy Lt Cmdr Richlyn Ivey, public affairs officer with US Northern Command "When a dual status commander is stood up, it allows state and federal governments and the Department of Defense to work together on a collaborated effort to accomplish a mission or operation"
The Vigilant Guard exercise purposely incorporates multiple interagency, intergovernmental, military and civilian aid organizations that might be called upon during a major disaster This allows Minnesota National Guard service members an opportunity to build relationships with counterparts in other organizations, enhance their ability to support the communities in which they serve and practice the command philosophies that better enable response efforts
"When an event happens - and I don't say, 'if' - the citizens of Minnesota will benefit by having a prepared, qualified and unified response," said Army Col Charles Kemper, the 34th ID's operations officer "By going through these exercises and coordinating our efforts, it gives us a better chance to save lives that might not otherwise be saved, a chance to save property that might have been lost in a real-world scenario"
According to the United States Army War College, only 2 percent of emergencies require a response from the federal government Conversely, 94 percent of emergencies are handled at the local level - responders that are quick to respond and engage in communities where they are known and trusted It's during massive events, when additional layers of response are required (ie the Governor of Minnesota declaring a state of emergency and asking the federal government for assistance) that a dual status commander is vital to ensure unity of effort
The government's response to Hurricane Sandy in 2012 is recent example of a dual status commander being utilized in a real-world emergency
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.
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.
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.