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The Soldiers of 2-135 Infantry are taking part in annual training in preparation for the battalion's upcoming deployment.
"Our Soldiers are well-trained, experienced and ready when called upon," said Lt. Col. Jon Ostercamp, the battalion commander, during an interview earlier this spring.
Since receiving the deployment order the officers and staff of 2-135 Infantry have been busy building plans for training, ensuring proper qualifications are met and preparing their families for the separation.
While at Camp Ripley, Soldiers of the battalion conducted day and night live fire exercises with individual and crew-served weapons. The battalion fired several qualification tables and conducted familiarization exercises increasing their awareness of tactical situations in addition to the support requirements for the forward units.
"We need to be a fully-functional and, if necessary, a self-supporting unit," said 1st Lt. Nick Cappola, battalion public affairs officer.
The battalion mortar platoon fired its 120-mm mortars in support of their units calling coordinated illumination missions. At night, illumination rounds are fired to light up the battlefield, allowing forward units the availability of easier field of view.
Forward observers use the illumination to identify targets and call for high explosive mortar rounds or heavier field artillery to engage those targets with indirect fire. The mortar platoon coordinates these fires so that hostile targets are engaged effectively with limited exposure to friendly units.
During their annual training period 2-135 Infantry also conducted Sling-loading with Army helicopters, riot control and force protection as well as warrior tasks training on Camp Ripley.
Nearly 400 Soldiers from the Minnesota Army National Guard's Mankato-based 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment will deploy for a nine-month peacekeeping mission to the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt in support of the Multi-National Force and Observers later this summer.
The mission of the nearly 2,000-strong Multi-National Force and Observers is to enforce the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. Divided into four zones, the Sinai Peninsula is host to 12 nations in support of the MFO.
The southern Minnesota units will mobilize in July and depart for pre-deployment training at Fort Bliss, Texas. They will begin their mission in Egypt by the end of the summer.
June 29, 2016 by Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs
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.
Posted: 2017-02-22 09:59 AM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Norwegian youths Stian Dahl and Haavard Engen received the Camp Ripley Garrison Commander's coin from Col. Scott St Sauver February 19, 2017, in recognition for reacting to a vehicle accident they witnessed earlier that week.
As part of the U.S.-Norway Reciprocal Troop Exchange, Norwegian youths ages 19-20 are matched up with a host family in order to spend an evening experiencing American culture. In most situations the "Buddy Weekend" as it's called allows the youths to go shopping, attend events and have home-cook meals along with their host family.
"We are able to match up youth members with families all over the state," said Staff Sgt. Tim Krouth, Buddy Weekend organizer. "Lots of the families have hosted one or two of our Norwegian friends for several years in a row now, it a great way to relax and see some of Minnesota."
Posted: 2017-02-21 01:25 PM HALTDALEN, Norway - After two days at a base camp near Haltdalen, Norway, Minnesota National Guardsmen participating in the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange were ready for the most challenging aspect of their four-day field training exercise - a ski march up the mountain.
It was Day three of the FTX, meaning members of the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange had slowly adjusted to surviving and thriving while living in a winter environment and also honed their skills on cross country skills well enough to begin a climb that would take nearly three hours.
"Our goal was to get you to know how to use the winter, see how the Norwegians use the winter, and how we survive the winter so we can conduct combat," said Vidar Aune, one of several members of Home Guard 12 guiding the Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen during their training here. "By getting the experience living outside in the snow, you manage to survive it and handle it quite well."