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Red Bull Soldiers Support Successful Bilateral Training Exercise with Japan
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Soldiers of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, based in Rosemount, Minnesota, recently traveled to Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, to participate in Yama Sakura 71, a bilateral training exercise in support of the U.S. and Japan military partnership. The scenario was designed to bring a new challenge to the division staff.
"Training at the division level is vastly different from the company or battalion [level] because it shifts the focus from tactics to predicting and shaping the operational environment," said Maj. Colin Fleming, division military intelligence officer.
While senior leaders worked through the challenges of the scenario to shape the battle, staff sections continued to fine-tune processes and create growth opportunities for junior enlisted.
"Each Soldier in my section is fulfilling a role designated for one level up," said Fleming. "By creating opportunities like this, it builds confidence and sets up my team for success not only for this exercise, but also for the future."
Red Bull Soldiers worked indirectly with Japanese forces during the exercise, and understanding how their military operates provided them with vital experience.
"Culturally, the two militaries see warfare differently," said Maj. Sam Andrews, division planner. "This exercise brings us together to create a shared understanding." Andrews is a graduate of the School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS), the U.S. Army's premier graduate-level schoolhouse designed to create agile and adaptive leaders who are able to solve complex problems and offer viable solutions to commanders. Just five percent of the 1,500 seats at the schoolhouse are dedicated to National Guard officers.
This shared understanding developed over daily conference calls between division staff, the higher headquarters and their Japanese counterparts. Through translators, each side briefed key information relevant to the group creating a common operating picture of both militaries' actions.
Yama Sakura, translated from Japanese as "Mountain Cherry Blossom", is an annual, bilateral computer exercise that simulates Japanese-U.S. military operations required to defend Japan. Yama Sakura is sponsored by U.S. Army Japan (USARJ) and the Japanese Ground Staff Office. Every year, one of the five regional Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) Armies partners with U.S. Army I Corps to conduct the exercise in Japan and the United States.
The Red Bulls are aligned for training with U.S. Army I Corps. U.S. Army I Corps provides a 3-star general level Joint Task Force-capable headquarters executing mission command over tailorable, scalable, and regionally-aligned conventional forces, fully integrating other service components to conduct unified land operations for the U.S. Pacific Command Commander and other combatant commanders globally.
December 19, 2016 by Capt. Sara Behr
34th Red Bull Infantry Division 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."