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Minnesota National Guard
Red Bulls move vehicles for partnership exercises

Rail load CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Soldiers of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division wrapped up a week-long rail load operation Sunday at Camp Ripley in preparation for several upcoming international training exercises.

Vehicle crewmen from the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry based in Moorhead, worked with railroad personnel from BNSF Railway to stage, load and secure their equipment in preparation for movement.

"It was a lot of work and lessons learned, but it was awesome seeing the completed product," said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Reiten, readiness non-commissioned officer for C Co., 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.

The Minnesota National Guard teams worked to load and secure each vehicle used by the units taking part in the exercise. The vehicles -- ranging from tanks and armored vehicles to trucks -- were secured to flatbed cars. Equipment for the unit was also loaded into packed CONEX boxes and loaded onto the train for shipment.

"First brigade has a history of building relationships through partnerships and employing troops to support various missions around the globe," said Capt. Paul Modeen, the public affairs officer for the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team.

The U.S. Army Europe-led Operation Saber Strike is an international training exercise that aims to strengthen interoperability among allied countries. This June, staff members of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team will travel to Latvia alongside the troops of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry to take part in the multi-national training event. The exercise will test brigade-level command post operations, as well as provide company-level situational and field training.

"There is a commitment to ensuring our Soldiers are highly-trained, which makes us the perfect match to support and enhance the military capabilities of our allies abroad," Modeen said.

Since early January maintenance personnel and staff on Camp Ripley have assisted the 1st Brigade in meeting readiness requirements for their upcoming movements overseas by providing resources such as weapons qualification ranges, mechanical support and logistical aid.

As NATO and European allies continue to sharpen their ability to assemble rapid-reaction forces and deploy them where needed on short notice; an exercise like Sabre Strike offers an effective proving ground for those skills.

"The upcoming training opportunity with our European allies is just one of many examples of how the Minnesota National Guard is always ready to support our neighbors at home and our friends abroad," concluded Modeen.

April 12, 2017
by Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs



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Beyond NATO Commitments, MN State Partnership with Croatia Continues to Grow

Posted: 2017-06-22  10:25 AM
Saber Strike SPP PABRADE, Lithuania - Since 1996, the Minnesota National Guard and the Croatian Armed Forces have been partners in the National Guard's State Partnership Program. Beyond the bond of the NATO commitment, a mutual trust and unique bond has been forged amongst the warriors of each respective nation. From Camp Ripley to Karlovac, the soldiers have found a common cause of continuous improvement. Exercise after exercise, there has been a greater appreciation of one another's culture and customs.

You don't have to look to far to see this dynamic. When asked if he had ever worked with Minnesota National Guardsmen before, 1Lt Emanuel Hamer of the Croatian Armed Forces said, "This is my fourth time working with 2-136 "Bearcats," each time we grow closer and stronger. I feel like they are members of my unit. I'm glad I have this opportunity to learn new techniques and share some of our own with the Americans."



7 Nations, 4 Branches, 1 Mission; Saber Strike '17

Posted: 2017-06-20  02:14 PM
Saber Strike 17 PABRADE, Lithuania - As the sun begins to set on the Lithuanian countryside, the final touches are put on the camouflage netting designed to break the silhouette and conceal the position of the Tactical Action Center, or TAC, of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division on June 17, 2017. As part of the multinational exercise of Saber Strike '17, the 1/34th ABCT is providing support to the Air Assault Task Force Commander, Col. Charles Kemper.

As the first ever combined air and ground assault in the annual Saber Strike exercise, this year's exercise has set a milestone in testing the compatibility of seven nations and all military branches.

"We want to reassure all of our NATO Allies that we are in this together," said Kemper. "We're part of the team and we can demonstrate capability."



Minnesota Aviators complete successful eXportable Combat Training Capability exercise

Posted: 2017-06-20  08:30 AM
XCTC FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard's 2-147th Assault Helicopter Battalion wrapped up support for an eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) exercise at Fort Hood, Texas, recently. The unit was part of Task Force Ragnar, the exercise's aviation element, supporting the Tennessee National Guard's 278th Armored Calvary Regiment as they prepare for a rotation to the National Training Center in 2018.

"Our mission is to support a brigade element here," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 John Otremba, with the 2-147. "But I think our ultimate mission is to train for an austere environment which sets us up for success at NTC next year."

The task force conducted aviation support missions including air assault, sling load, deliberate attack, defensive positioning and key leader escorts. They also conducted aviation-specific training in personnel recovery, downed aircraft recovery, field maintenance and air traffic control operations.



CERFP exercise tests Guardsmen, new evaluation team

Posted: 2017-06-08  01:42 PM
evaluators DULUTH, Minn. - Minnesota National Guard members serving in a variety of roles tested their skills as evaluators and domestic response assets during a Combined Training Exercise simulating a chemical explosion in the harbors of Duluth from June 3 to June 9, 2017.

The exercise was the first time in nearly four years that the specialized 55th Civil Support Team - which would respond to a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) threat before any other Minnesota National Guard unit - worked in conjunction with the 84th Troop Command's CBRN Enhanced Response Force Package. In practice, the CST would provide the initial response and hand the mission off to the CERFP, which is capable of mass decontamination and casualty support as well search and recovery expertise in the event of collapsed or damaged structures.

And as crews of CERFP Soldiers donned protective gear, established decontamination lanes and prepared for swells of simulated victims seeking medical attention, a few select Soldiers quietly observed it all.



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