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The inheritance of over 70 years of deployments, challenges and achievements resonated in the several events executed by the men and women of the battalion.
"The trials this unit lived through since its creation are inspirational for all of us ... no matter what you are doing," said Capt. Joe Howe, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment.
The battalion's lineage traces back to the Brainerd-based 34th Tank Company of the Minnesota National Guard which on Feb. 10, 1941, was federalized under the command of Maj. Ernest B. Miller. The Minnesotans joined other National Guard tank companies and combined to form the 194th Tank Battalion before being deployed to the Philippines in the fall of that same year. When the Japanese attacked in early December, the battalion fought bravely throughout the Battle of Bataan and the defense of Manila Bay, inevitably enduring the disreputable Bataan Death March following the surrender of Allied forces.
It was these events that inspired the battalion motto: "Remember Bataan ... Never Forget!"
During their August drill weekend the battalion welcomed a new commander, Lt. Col. Tadd Vanyo, and thanked Lt. Col. Joshua Simer for his dedicated service to the Battalion, 34th Infantry Division and the Minnesota National Guard. As part of his speech to the soldiers, families and guests in attendance, Simer referred to the situation of then Brig. Gen. Charles D.W. Canham, assistant division commander, 8th Infantry Division, during World War II.
"Brig. Gen. Canham received the German surrender from an officer annoyed at the prospect of surrendering to an officer of lower rank," said Simer. "He asks, 'I am to surrender to you. Let me see your credentials.' An unruffled Canham motioned behind to the several battle-hardened American GIs, and replied, 'These are my credentials,'" Simer related that story to the successful standings of his own soldiers.
Following the change of command ceremony, the battalion organized and conducted the 19th Annual Bataan Memorial March, regimental reunion and unit formal dining out.
"We had another great turnout at the Bataan Memorial March this year," said Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Porisch. "It was an honor to host over 300 participants with many more family, friends and supporters, including Bataan survivor Mr. Walt Straka."
Remember Bataan... Never forget!
August 17, 2016 by Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley 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.