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FORT IRWIN, Calif. - With the sun setting on a Kuwait-esque landscape on the evening of June 5, 2016, the preparation phase of what has been the two-year training focus for the Soldiers of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, drew to an end.
With nearly 6,000 Soldiers on the ground at Fort Irwin, California, in addition to the transportation and staging of more than 1,500 pieces of equipment and countless pounds of gear, the Reception, Staging, Onward movement and Integration phase, or RSOI, has begun. This 5-day period in a contested environment will transition the 1/34th ABCT into the execution phase of its National Training Center rotation later this week.
The brigade first put boots-on-ground May 20, laying the groundwork to close the loop on the massive logistical operation assembling units and equipment from across the country.
"We've been preparing for this incredibly complex movement plan since we were notified of our rotation nearly two years ago," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 David Mellon, brigade mobility officer for the 1/34th ABCT. "We've invested countless hours, and enlisted the support of hundreds of Service members, to accomplish this feat."
Arriving in stages, 350 chartered bus movements and 90 flights brought Soldiers from muster formations across the nation to Fort Irwin, Mellon said.
Before the main body's arrival to the Rotational Unit Bivouac Area, or RUBA, Soldiers were hard at work receiving the nearly 500 railcars from around the U.S. Once the more than 300 wheeled vehicles, 350 tracked vehicles and 1,400 containers were received at the Yermo Railhead Annex at Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Soldiers began convoy operations down the Mannex Trail, a 30-mile trek through the Mojave Desert bridging the final leg of the journey to Fort Irwin.
"If lined up railcar-to-railcar, the trains would span nearly 11 miles long," said Mellon. "This, in addition to the nearly 1,500 pieces of equipment and vehicles that were drawn from NTC's prepositioned fleet - which greatly reduced shipping costs - allowed the brigade to reach its full combat power in a relatively short timeframe."
Although a major accomplishment has been made through the logistics of the brigade, Soldiers still face a long and grueling road ahead of them in the coming three weeks. Around the clock operations have been initiated and the RUBA is officially considered a contested environment by the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the active duty brigade opposing the 1/34th ABCT.
June 8, 2016 by Sgt. William Boecker
1st Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
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."