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

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."

Kemper also stated that the U.S. is beyond just assurance; we've moved to deterrence. We are going to deter anyone who poses a threat to our NATO Allies and demonstrate our capability to let them know that we are an alliance that is going to stand ready with our partners.

"This exercise is designed to build and increase the interoperability of all NATO contributing countries allowing us to boost our capability to react quickly to any world threat that occurs," said Capt. Josip Jurjevich, a Croatian Air Force helicopter pilot attached to the 1/34th ABCT Aviation element.

Throughout the planning process, American Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen worked side-by-side with service members from the United Kingdom, Poland, Croatia, Lithuania and Portugal, testing their ability to work together as one cohesive unit and ultimately forming a NATO enhanced Forward Presence, or eFP, Battle Group.

A challenge that takes time to overcome is the fact that you are taking people from different sides of the world to work together on the same mission when they don't have the same ways or customs of doing things, said Jurjevich. Saber Strike is a great opportunity for all participating nations and units to gauge where they are in regards to working as a cohesive unit.

During the planning process, the U.S. aviation planner implemented input from the two Croatian pilots attached to the TAC to plan helicopter air corridors from the Pickup Zone to the Landing Zone. Their counterpart took their input into consideration and implemented it into the overall mission.

"Even if something is better than our process, that is great, we've learned something, or if it's not, then we can bring something forward for them to learn," said Jurjevich.

With all seven nations converging at the Kazlu Ruda airstrip, the newly-formed Task Force Red Bull conducted an air mission brief and a combined arms rehearsal. These two briefings are held to work out the final details of the air and ground force to ensure all nations and their assets are marching to the same drum.

Improving overall coordination and professional relationships with Allies and partner militaries during this exercise has become a focal point for all those involved. A strong foundation of trust is crucial when forming a relationship with members of the NATO alliance.

Tight living quarters shorten the period of time it takes to become comfortable with one another, said 1st Lt. Josip Perich, another Croatian Air Force helicopter pilot attached to the 1/34th ABCT. "With 18 of us crammed into only two trucks working together on the mission, we are able to develop trust and confidence in one another very quickly."

A pre-established relationship between nations through exercises like Saber Strike is meant to lay footwork for a long-lasting rapport with all of our fellow NATO Allies.

"We were like a family in two small trucks, working together, sweating together for the same collective mission," said Perich.

June 20, 2017
by Sgt. William Boecker
1st Armored Brigade Combat Team 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.



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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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