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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.
"Next to all successful officers and organizations there are great NCOs. Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Worden is one of those NCOs who I've been honored with which to serve," said Col. Scott St. Sauver, Camp Ripley garrison commander.
Worden enlisted into the Military Intelligence branch of the U.S. Army Reserves in July 1990. In June of 1996 he joined the Minnesota Army National Guard serving as a part-time soldier in Alexandria before beginning a full-time career in 1997.
Worden served in many capacities throughout Minnesota with some of his most recent assignments to include the operations sergeant major for the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, Operations Sergeant for the 175th Regional Training Institute; and battalion master gunner for the 1-194th Armor Battalion in Brainerd. During his time in service Worden deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005 serving more than 14 months providing operational coordination and planning support during execution of combat operations.
"He is a very smart and insightful leader. He never asked a question that he didn't already have the answer to, but allowed soldiers the opportunity to work through it. His energy was motivating. Always took the time to ask and listen how a person was doing as well as their family," said Master Sgt. Robert Saffell, operations NCO with Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 1st Combined Arms Battalion -- 194th Armor.
The garrison command sergeant major is responsible for managing the military aspects of all full-time and traditional National Guard members on the installation. They serve as the primary advisor to the commander regarding issues related to the analysis and enforcement of established policies and standards for enlisted personnel. Additionally, their oversight has particular emphasis on readiness, morale, welfare, discipline, performance, training, awards and recognition, recruiting, equal opportunity, promotion, assignment and reassignment and administrative needs.
"He has been a trusted advisor and compassionate advocate for the soldier; making a positive difference for all the servicemembers and civilians using Camp Ripley. I wish to congratulate him on a great career and the very best in the future," added St. Sauver.
In addition to managing the Army family, Worden has a family of his own, wife Lisa and two children who he devotes as many moments as he can to. During his closing remarks, following the change of responsibility, he admitted how proud he is of his family for understanding the requirements of his job and stepping up when needed while he was away.
"There is a sense of relief that the long absences for deployments and training are done," said Lisa Worden. "Anyone who knows Mike, knows that he will keep himself busy and productive. We are proud of his accomplishments and appreciate that he is an exceptional soldier, but I am grateful that he is an exceptional father and husband as well."
The Certificate of Appointment to Command Sergeant Major read: "You are therefore charged to faithfully and impartially discharge the duties required by this appointment. As Command Sergeant Major, you fulfill your role in the efficient accomplishment of the unit's mission by providing advice and initiating recommendations to the commander and staff on all matters pertaining to enlisted personnel and their families. By providing counsel and guidance to noncommissioned officers and other enlisted personnel of the command, you satisfy your responsibility for the welfare of the unit's personnel. Also, as the senior noncommissioned officer in your command, you are provided a special charge to uphold military customs and traditions and to enhance the professionalism in the Noncommissioned Officer Corps and the Army by executing established policies and directives according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice."
Camp Ripley welcomes Erickson to the team and as the new garrison command sergeant major. An artilleryman by trade, Erickson along with his wife Mandy and two children join the Camp Ripley team having come from the 682nd Engineer Battalion and a recent deployment to Kuwait in support of U.S. operations overseas.
March 8, 2017 by Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs
Posted: 2017-04-24 10:43 AM Washington - Members of the Minnesota National Guard and the Air Force Reserve traveled to Washington D.C. with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (also known as the JCRC), to visit the Holocaust Museum, April 4, 2017, to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Also, traveling with this group were St. Paul and Minneapolis police officers along with students from various high schools around the state. For those in uniform that day, it was an opportunity to see, hear and experience the stories of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
Each Service member who attended was asked to bring back a summary of their experience in the form of a presentation, professional discussion or briefing to their respective unit in order to help other Guard members better understand and remember that horrible event, to honor the courage of the victims and survivors, and to remain vigilant as members of the U.S. military.
"The honor and privilege of accompanying members of the Minnesota National Guard to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. met so many goals," said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the JCRC. "I wanted to reinforce the importance of the commitment of the U.S. military to democracy. After all, it was the Allies that defeated Nazi Germany and ultimately put an end to the Holocaust."
Posted: 2017-04-19 02:15 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - It was a challenging and rewarding two weeks for members attending the Army National Guard Funeral Honors Instructor Course, April 1-14, at Camp Ripley.
Soldiers of National Guard units from all over the United States took part in the course designed to educate team leaders in a variety of funeral honor detail tasks, traditions and responsibilities.
"It's a stressful course, but for our job, we have to be prepared to do our job under stress; and we all really benefitted from that," said Class Honor Grad, Sgt. Ryan Valline of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.
Posted: 2017-04-18 01:42 PM ROSEMOUNT, Minn. - The Soldiers of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division had a unique opportunity to speak with one of the U.S. Army's five Muslim chaplains April 7-10, 2017. U.S. Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Khallid Shabazz, I Corps deputy command chaplain, travelled from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Minnesota to provide professional development for the division chaplain section.
"Soldiers perform at a higher level when they are spiritually fit," said Minnesota National Guard Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Buddy Winn, the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division command chaplain. "And, it's our job as chaplains to make sure Soldiers have their spiritual needs met, regardless of faith. Having Chaplain Shabazz here as a Muslim Chaplain provides the diversity in religious background that we can't provide internally."
There are five major religions supported by the chaplaincy: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, but over 200 religions are recognized. Chaplains can only perform services for their particular religion, but they can provide support for all Soldiers, regardless of their faith.
Posted: 2017-04-14 04:25 PM ST. PAUL, Minn. - For the third consecutive year, Minnesota service members were honored with on-court recognition and other VIP treatments as part of the Minnesota Timberwolves Heroes of the Pack Program.
"We are very appreciative for what the military does for us, and we wanted to give something back to honor the military," said Roger McCabe, who along with wife, Nancy, is a driving force behind the recognitions through the FastBreak Foundation and Roger & Nancy McCabe Foundation. "This is our way of doing it."
Having lived through the Vietnam War - and with Roger and Nancy both having parents who served - the two philanthropists decided a few years back to build upon existing recognition efforts already underway by the Timberwolves. And with that, recognitions that were typically happening at Target Center in November expanded to include Minnesota Service members from all branches at every home game - a total of 41 honorees per season.