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Minnesota National Guard
The wait is over; Minnesota Red Bulls enter "The Box"

Red Bulls at NTC FORT IRWIN, California - As the sun peaks the mountain tops on the final day of the Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration phase for the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, nearly 6,000 Soldiers load gear, mount vehicles and await the call to move out of the Rotational Unit Bivouac Area, or RUBA, in Fort Irwin, California, June 10, 2016.

"The movement means the Brigade will be headed into an unfamiliar area where the opposition force has the distinct advantage of knowing the terrain very well and have had a chance to be acclimated to the heat," said Spc. Travis Pugh, a dismounted Infantryman for the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armored Regiment. "We are entering their playground, so we have to be on our toes at all times and never get complacent."

"They" are the opposition force, or OPFOR, comprised of Soldiers from the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, an active duty unit dedicated to testing units in "The Box." Now, after two years of preparation, the 1/34th ABCT will enter the force-on-force maneuver phase of their National Training Center rotation, where the Red Bulls will finally square off against the 11th ACR "Blackhorse."

"Being prepared and having a quick distribution of information is key for our rotation at NTC." said Pugh. "At any time we have to be ready to move a whole battalion or even brigade element as quickly as possible so we can re-establish our foot print and bring the fight back to the OPFOR."

One of the larger tasks during RSOI was ensuring each piece of equipment has been checked, double-checked and staged with Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System, or MILES, gear installed and validated. Using lasers, sensors and blank cartridges, MILES simulates an actual battle to give Soldiers the most realistic training possible.

Also, Soldiers here get to train on systems that just aren't always available, said Pugh. While at Fort Irwin's Range 16, Pugh and other select Soldiers from around the Brigade participated in a live-fire exercise utilizing the Javelin - a Soldier-carried, fire-and-forget anti-tank missile used to disable vehicles with a single strike.

"We've come here to be able to leave better Soldiers than we came," said 1st Lt. Sean Bottin, executive officer for Alpha Company, 1-194 AR (CAB). "From the individual Soldier to team and squad, all the way up to the battalion and brigade level, we will improve and integrate our fighting and movement drills on a massive scale."

Along with the training opportunity comes the extended time away from families, Bottin said. It's not the easiest thing to be away from spouses, kids and family for as long as is expected.

In addition to the 1/34th ABCT Facebook page, which has provided loved ones back home a first-hand account of what their Soldiers are doing at Fort Irwin, Bottin said his family is connected with his unit's Family Readiness Group and Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Network. These two programs provide support to the families of those away from home by sharing information and providing support when needed.

June 13, 2016
by Sgt. William Boecker
1st Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs



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Month of the Military Child recognizes contributions of military kids

Posted: 2018-04-07  01:54 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The month of April is designated as the Month of the Military Child to recognize the contributions and sacrifices military children make so their family members can serve. An estimated 15,000 children in Minnesota have been affected by the deployment of a parent.

"Military children bear a lot while their family members serve," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "It is up to us to support these resilient kids and help to lessen their burden."

An event to honor military kids in Minnesota will take place April 13, 2018, at the Mall of America rotunda from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Activities will include appearances by the Teddy Bear Band and meet and greets with Nickelodeon characters.



Forging a path to career success

Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.



Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.



Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."



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