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Minnesota National Guard and Norwegian Home Guard Soldiers conduct domestic operations training with local law enforcement
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Red Bull Infantry Division and the Norwegian Home Guard received training from local Minnesota law enforcement officers during a three-day domestic operations training event on Camp Ripley, June 24-26, 2016.
The training event, meant to provide both Minnesota and Norwegian Soldiers with an understanding of inter-agency cooperation between law enforcement and the military, consisted of basic instruction in crisis negotiation, active shooters and hostage rescue.
"We were asked to participate in this training exercise, which I consider an honor," said Washington County SWAT team member Chris Rheault who is a crisis negotiator and also a full-time Woodbury police officer. "This training provides everyone an opportunity to share tactics. Although we're instructing the training, it really provides us with an opportunity to all learn from each other. These Soldiers have different experiences and teach us just as much as we can teach them."
During part of the training, Soldiers listened as Rheault explained his first-hand account of the 2012 Demetrius Ballinger hostage negotiation that took place at the Red Roof Inn in Woodbury. The Soldiers, wanting to know more, asked a number of relevant questions about the incident which resulted in a young man's 33-year prison sentence for attempted murder and sexual assault.
The first day of the exercise, the Soldiers received basic instruction in crisis negotiation, active shooters and hostage rescue. On the second day, the law enforcement officers went into further detail about hostage rescue negotiations. The final day consisted of a large-scale culminating exercise where troops were able to put their training to the test.
"The training has been fantastic," said Norwegian Home Guard Troop Commander Odd-Arild LongstA�yl. "It has added great value for our organization. This facility provides multiple scenario training at the drop of a hat. Back home we may be asked to guard installations or clear buildings. This facility lets us train in those tasks and do it in a manner that is safe for my men."
LongstA�yl went on to explain that in his district in Norway, the Home Guard is often called upon for a variety of domestic events, so it's important for his team to train to work with local law enforcement. In his mountainous region of Norway, his team typically works with the Red Cross and Mountain Rescue to find people who are lost in the mountains, but there are times when they may need to provide additional security for civilian installations as well.
"It's important that there are people among us in our communities who can react to these possible domestic issues. And, now, we will have people who are ready to react because of training events like this," he said.
Minnesota National Guard Sgt. David Patterson, a military policeman with the 34th Military Police Company, said that although the military and the civilian teams do similar things, like clearing buildings and room searches, each organization seems to concentrate on different details.
"In the military, we train on certain tactics and techniques that we might use in a wartime situation," said Patterson, an MP with the National Guard, and also a senior deputy for Stearns County Sheriff's Department. "Here, we can cross train. The law enforcement response teams open our eyes to things we may not concentrate on. They offer us options we can use to solve crises without the need for the amount of force we may be used to in the military."
Several law enforcement agencies participated in the training event including police officers who are a part of SWAT teams from St. Cloud, East Metro and Morrison, Sherburne and Washington County Sheriff's Offices. Many of the law enforcement officers volunteered to be a part of the training event.
Several Soldiers from around 34th Red Bull Infantry Division participated in the event as well Soldiers from a few other Minnesota National Guard units.
The Minnesota National Guard has partnered with the Norwegian Home Guard units for the past 43 years. The Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange is the longest-running military exchange partnership between any two nations. The yearly exchange promotes good will and sharpens military readiness between the nations, as well as provides opportunities for cultural understanding among its participants.
June 28, 2016 by Master Sgt. Ashlee J. L. Sherrill
34th Red Bull Infantry Division Public Affairs
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.