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Minnesota National Guard
A wreath for every headstone

Wreaths for the fallen CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Community members from around the region assembled for the National Remembrance Ceremony at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery located just outside Camp Ripley Training Center on Dec. 12, 2015. The annual ceremony, held by the non-profit organization Wreaths for the Fallen, honors deceased service members from every branch of the military.

"We are all proud to be Americans that live in a free society made up of many people and races from many walks of life," said Vice President of Wreaths for the Fallen, Norville Pervier. "The freedoms we enjoy today have not come without a price."

Following the ceremony, the crowd - made up of veterans, family members young and old, and grateful Americans - dispersed to every section of the cemetery to lay commemorative wreaths on every marker of every fallen hero. Salutes were rendered and prayers made during the quiet, dress-right-dress placing of the wreaths.

Support for Wreaths for the Fallen has grown tremendously since 2006, when five ceremonial wreaths were brought to the annual Remembrance Ceremony by the Little Falls and Randall American Legions. Now, leaving no marker bare, more than 4,100 wreaths are placed throughout the cemetery.

Rosie Hauge, a first-time volunteer for Wreaths for the Fallen, came out to the event to celebrate the holidays and honor her husband who was put to rest on the grounds only three years ago.

"I'm amazed at the amount of people that come out to support our fallen heroes'," said Hauge. "It warms my heart that this many people care."

"We do this as a way to say, 'Thank you,' for the nights slept freezing in a tent or sweating in the desert, for the lonely days spent missing loved ones, for wounds suffered fighting evil, and the precious moments missed back home," said Pervier.

December 14, 2015
by Cpl. William Boecker
1st Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs



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Beyond NATO Commitments, MN State Partnership with Croatia Continues to Grow

Posted: 2017-06-22  10:25 AM
Saber Strike SPP PABRADE, Lithuania - Since 1996, the Minnesota National Guard and the Croatian Armed Forces have been partners in the National Guard's State Partnership Program. Beyond the bond of the NATO commitment, a mutual trust and unique bond has been forged amongst the warriors of each respective nation. From Camp Ripley to Karlovac, the soldiers have found a common cause of continuous improvement. Exercise after exercise, there has been a greater appreciation of one another's culture and customs.

You don't have to look to far to see this dynamic. When asked if he had ever worked with Minnesota National Guardsmen before, 1Lt Emanuel Hamer of the Croatian Armed Forces said, "This is my fourth time working with 2-136 "Bearcats," each time we grow closer and stronger. I feel like they are members of my unit. I'm glad I have this opportunity to learn new techniques and share some of our own with the Americans."



7 Nations, 4 Branches, 1 Mission; Saber Strike '17

Posted: 2017-06-20  02:14 PM
Saber Strike 17 PABRADE, Lithuania - As the sun begins to set on the Lithuanian countryside, the final touches are put on the camouflage netting designed to break the silhouette and conceal the position of the Tactical Action Center, or TAC, of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division on June 17, 2017. As part of the multinational exercise of Saber Strike '17, the 1/34th ABCT is providing support to the Air Assault Task Force Commander, Col. Charles Kemper.

As the first ever combined air and ground assault in the annual Saber Strike exercise, this year's exercise has set a milestone in testing the compatibility of seven nations and all military branches.

"We want to reassure all of our NATO Allies that we are in this together," said Kemper. "We're part of the team and we can demonstrate capability."



Minnesota Aviators complete successful eXportable Combat Training Capability exercise

Posted: 2017-06-20  08:30 AM
XCTC FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard's 2-147th Assault Helicopter Battalion wrapped up support for an eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) exercise at Fort Hood, Texas, recently. The unit was part of Task Force Ragnar, the exercise's aviation element, supporting the Tennessee National Guard's 278th Armored Calvary Regiment as they prepare for a rotation to the National Training Center in 2018.

"Our mission is to support a brigade element here," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 John Otremba, with the 2-147. "But I think our ultimate mission is to train for an austere environment which sets us up for success at NTC next year."

The task force conducted aviation support missions including air assault, sling load, deliberate attack, defensive positioning and key leader escorts. They also conducted aviation-specific training in personnel recovery, downed aircraft recovery, field maintenance and air traffic control operations.



CERFP exercise tests Guardsmen, new evaluation team

Posted: 2017-06-08  01:42 PM
evaluators DULUTH, Minn. - Minnesota National Guard members serving in a variety of roles tested their skills as evaluators and domestic response assets during a Combined Training Exercise simulating a chemical explosion in the harbors of Duluth from June 3 to June 9, 2017.

The exercise was the first time in nearly four years that the specialized 55th Civil Support Team - which would respond to a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) threat before any other Minnesota National Guard unit - worked in conjunction with the 84th Troop Command's CBRN Enhanced Response Force Package. In practice, the CST would provide the initial response and hand the mission off to the CERFP, which is capable of mass decontamination and casualty support as well search and recovery expertise in the event of collapsed or damaged structures.

And as crews of CERFP Soldiers donned protective gear, established decontamination lanes and prepared for swells of simulated victims seeking medical attention, a few select Soldiers quietly observed it all.



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