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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota aviators participate in Talisman Saber 17, lay foundation for Warfighter Training Exercise

Talisman Saber CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - More than 140 Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Combat Aviation Brigade recently wrapped up participation here in the seventh iteration of the biennial training exercise Talisman Saber.

The St. Paul, Minnesota-based Soldiers were among 33,000 U.S. and Australian military personnel who convened in multiple locations around the world to support and engage in the event made up of field training and command post exercise components.

Unit members of the 34th CAB, which is adept at providing a wide spectrum of aviation support, took part in the command post exercise and used the training as an opportunity to focus on air-ground integration -- or synchronizing aviation operations into the scheme of maneuver planned and conducted by forces on the ground.

In this case, the units on the ground were being commanded by the Rosemount, Minnesota-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. In total, more than 700 Soldiers that fall under the Red Bulls, including some from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, were involved in the high-level military operations and synchronization training.

Taking place once every two years, Talisman Saber is a bilateral training exercise jointly sponsored by the U.S. Pacific Command and Australian Defence Force Headquarters Joint Operations Command. The U.S. views its alliance with Australia as an anchor of peace and stability, and the biennial training event is designed to increase both countries' ability to plan and execute various operations, including combat missions, terrorism response and humanitarian assistance efforts.

For the 34th CAB and the 34th ID, Talisman Saber helped to lay the foundation for a future Warfighter exercise (WFX), which is an essential training event that ensures the ability to provide command and control of units conducting combat operations.

"Talisman Saber gave our team a great opportunity to work through various staff processes and battle tasks," said Col. Shawn Manke, 34th CAB commander. "We identified challenges for the staff to analyze and overcome, and we established the groundwork for a more successful Warfighter rotation."

The WFX is a command and control exercise scheduled to take place over two weeks in 2018, but Manke's staff has developed a rhythm and culture of continuous learning, and they're already focused on opportunities to hone their skills and progress as a team.

"We're constantly looking to improve," Manke said. "That includes improving information flow and processes within the staff and between higher commands and subordinate units."

Talisman Saber provided a valuable chance to conduct operations in a combined, joint and interagency environment. Synchronizing efforts among multiple command echelons -- particularly with the 34th ID -- increased the CAB's ability to plan and execute multiple contingency response efforts.

"Our time at Camp Atterbury provided us with a chance to look inward and evaluate our ability to react to a variety of battlefield scenarios," said Lt. Col. Corby Koehler, 34th CAB executive officer. "The team performed well, and made good use of this annual training period."

The CAB's resolve will be tested when they face a new set of scenarios and challenges on the virtual battlefield at WFX.

"Going forward, we'll continue to focus on sharpening synchronization and execution capabilities," Koehler said. "There's always room for improvement, but the 34th ID and higher can continually rely on the CAB to plan and provide expert aviation support."

July 25, 2017
by 1st Lt. Eric Jungels
34th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs



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347th RSG units test unique capabilities during Combined Support Training Exercise

Posted: 2017-08-16  03:35 PM
347 RSG FORT MCCOY, Wisconsin - The 347th Regional Support Group commander and command sergeant major traveled to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, Aug. 15, 2017, to recognize several Soldiers training there.

The 204th Area Medical Support Company, 147th Financial Management Support Detachment and 247th FMSD are all conducting their annual training periods in neighboring Wisconsin, with their own mission-specific exercises that fall under the Combat Support Training Exercise taking place throughout the brigade.

The leadership duo of Col. Lowell Kruse and Command Sgt. Maj. Marcus Erickson began their day with a stop at the 147th FMSD's training area, where they watched Soldiers participate in the Diamond Saber exercise. Throughout the event, the 147th FMSD - a 25-Soldier operation preparing for deployment - is exercising its dispersing, military pay and contracting functions in an interactive environment with actual customers to serve and transactions to process.



500 Minnesota soldiers notified for 2018 deployment

Posted: 2017-08-14  03:54 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2017

ROSEMOUNT, Minn.- More than 500 Soldiers from the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division headquarters have been notified of a possible deployment to Southwest Asia beginning in the fall of 2018.

"The Red Bulls maintain a high level of readiness, and over the next 12 months, our soldiers will train for this mission while also preparing their families and civilian employers here at home," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, 34th Infantry Division commanding general. "The official notification is an important step in the process of building readiness for an overseas deployment."

The planned deployment is expected to last up to one year. The notified units are based in Rosemount, Inver Grove Heights, and Faribault; however, the soldiers hail from 10 different states and the District of Columbia.



347th RSG trains to master tactical, uninterrupted sustainment support

Posted: 2017-08-10  08:14 AM
347 RSG CSTX CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - After three busy days establishing a field command post and integrating units from across the country, the 347th Regional Support Group is underway with a three-week Combat Support Training Exercise during annual training at Camp Ripley.

It began with a Command Post Exercise on Aug. 8, 2017, but it couldn't begin until the tenants of "Tactical Assembly Area Victory" established meal service, sleeping arrangements, shower and laundry accommodations and, of course, the tactical command post.

"We do the exercise to make sure our equipment works, and once that is established we as a staff figure out how to sync together," said Sgt. Maj. Marc Dempsey, logistics operations sergeant major for the 347th RSG. "The exercise is for making sure we as a staff are working together as one team, with everyone knowing their role, for when we go into the main event."



Military kids participate in Minnesota National Guard Youth Camp

Posted: 2017-08-07  02:08 PM
Youth Camp CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Summer camp as a kid and young teen is usually filled with memories of campfires, swimming in the lake and BBQs. Camp Ripley Training Center hosted the Minnesota National Guard Youth Camp (MNGYC) for more than 200 military kids this year. The experience for the military kids who attend the camp relies heavily on donations and nearly 150 volunteers from around the state that come and spend the week with them.

Lindsay Koolmo is a volunteer and the executive director for the MNGYC. She is a military spouse, a volunteer firefighter and a mutations maintenance Tech Sergeant from the 148th Fighter Wing. She has taken upon herself for years to take time off her job and spend hundreds of hours throughout the year and more than two weeks at Camp Ripley to lead the camp.

Her affiliation with the MNGYC started early, in 1992 she was a camper, became a junior counselor, then was a junior counselor and then became an adult counselor.



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