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Minnesota National Guard
CERFP exercise tests Guardsmen, new evaluation team

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.

Headed by Capt. Luke Braun, officer-in-charge of the newly-formed External Evaluation Team, a six-person team observed each training scenario to ensure tasks were being executed to standard. If the evaluation team is successful in ensuring units are training properly, it could ultimately reduce the time Soldiers spend away from their loved ones.

"My team allows the Minnesota National Guard to evaluate itself, as opposed to calling on First Army to receive our validations," said Braun. "We offer a complete training package, letting commanders know what we see and what we can provide for them to satisfy 'Objective T' requirements."

"Objective T" was adopted in 2016 by the Minnesota National Guard, which transitioned the organization to a new method for reporting the training readiness of its units by providing a more objective assessment of a unit's training status and preparedness for mobilization.

"We provide many products, such as an executive summary and formal After Action Review to the commander, while also helping to fill out and submit forms for the units to satisfy 'Objective T' requirements," said Braun. "Ultimately it helps improve training proficiency, and ensures there are no peaks and valleys in a unit's level of readiness."

And perhaps the greatest benefit of all - especially with an increase in training days seen throughout the force, especially in brigade combat teams - training validation done by Minnesota National Guard Soldiers at Minnesota National Guard facilities means Soldiers would spend less time away from their families.

"Our initial work here leads up to evaluating the 347th Regional Support Group's Combat Support Training Exercise in August," said Braun. "Validation at home-station training shortens the time they will spend at their mobilization station."

Eventually the evaluation team will support eXportable Combat Training Capabilities validation, which is a requirement for brigade combat teams preparing for their "ready year," the year in a four-year cycle in which they could be called upon to deploy.

"I see this as a good thing, seeing the way the state can use us in the future as evaluators," said 1st Lt. Ellyn Emde, a collective training liaison officer on Braun's team. "This was our first experience as Observer Coach Trainers, and we're using the experience to see where we can improve going into the next one."

June 8, 2017
by Staff Sgt. Patrick Loch
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs



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Governor Mark Dayton installs new Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General

Posted: 2017-11-04  04:16 PM
TAG installation ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton administered the oath of office to Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, installing him as the Minnesota National Guard's 31st Adjutant General during a ceremony in St. Paul, November 4, 2017.

"General Jensen has been a tremendous leader of the Minnesota National Guard throughout his years of dedicated service," said Governor Dayton. "He has served in two top leadership positions, as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, and also as the Chief of Staff at the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. I am confident that he will continue to provide the same outstanding leadership as his predecessor, General Rick Nash."

Jensen most recently served as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. He previously held positions as Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Africa and Southern European Task Force, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff and Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Army.



Guard Heritage Suffers with Loss of Artillery Unit

Posted: 2017-10-04  11:22 AM
ETAB ANOKA, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard lost one of its most historically significant units when the 151st Artillery's E Battery, (Target Acquisition) cased its colors in a ceremony at the Anoka High School Aug. 19, 2017.

The Target Acquisition Battery (ETAB), 151st Field Artillery is one of the oldest and most decorated units in the Minnesota National Guard and the 34th Infantry Division. "Both Minnesota and the Division lose the proud lineage that goes back to Civil War days, through WW1 and WW2, and had a significant amount of battle streamers," said 151st Field Artillery Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Cornwell.

The 151st Field Artillery draws its lineage from the 1st Regiment, Minnesota Heavy Artillery of 1864 which fought two major campaigns in Tennessee during the Civil War.



In one month: Minnesota Guardsmen support Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

Posted: 2017-09-29  02:25 PM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - In the span of a few weeks, three major hurricanes hit different parts of the southern United States, causing widespread damage and destruction and requiring the response of agencies around the country. The Minnesota National Guard is one of the many organizations that have responded, sending Soldiers and Airmen to Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

"This is the most gratifying deployment of my career," said Capt. Jeremy Maxey with the 133rd Airlift Wing who was called back from his vacation early to go to the Virgin Islands. "It means a lot to be able to actually directly help people. It's why I serve. Throughout my career I've deployed numerous times, but this is the one where you actually see the people you serve."

The start of the month brought the first request for assistance. On Sept. 1, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 11 personnel from the St. Cloud-based B Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment left for Texas following Hurricane Harvey to transport personnel and equipment in support of response efforts.



Finding fellowship in the sacred mission

Posted: 2017-09-26  12:02 PM
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About 45 Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers came to Camp Ripley, Minnesota, on September 21-22, 2017, for a Reset Seminar to find fellowship in one specific thing they have in common: delivering the worst news in the Army.

When a Soldier dies at home or overseas, CNOs and CAOs must notify and help families through the process, including paperwork, benefits, and funeral arrangements.



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