/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Guardsmen participate in Aurora 17 exercise in Sweden

Aurora 17 SKOVDE, Sweden - Minnesota National Guard Soldiers from the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor traveled overseas in mid-Sept. 2017 to take part in a cooperative, national defense training exercise with allied countries.

"The education and experience these Soldiers will receive is invaluable," said Command Sgt. Maj. Shane Hybben, 1-194th command sergeant major. "Our Soldiers will have operated in joint forces operations with fire and maneuver, which will allow for best practices to be shared and used in the future. They will have a better understanding of other military forces and how they operate not only strengthening our force but everyone involved."

The Brainerd-based battalion spearheaded the mission to Sweden as the most recent element of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division to have taken part in joint international training missions throughout Europe since early 2017.

"This is a unique and prestigious opportunity to represent a part of the American Armed Forces working with our European neighbors," said Lt. Col. Tadd Vanyo, commander of the 1-194th.

The exercise, known as Aurora 17, is a national defense exercise organized by the Swedish Armed Forces and is the first national event of its type to be conducted in over 20 years. The participation of French, American, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish, Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian Militaries are to cooperatively challenge Sweden's defense capability by simulating an experienced, multi-faceted opponent.

Kicking off September 11, 2017, more than 19,000 Swedish military men and women interacted as part of the exercise assuming defensive and offensive duties related to the various scenarios. One of the purposes of Aurora 17 is the collective training of the Swedish armed services as a joint capability ready to meet a potential attack. At the same time, the exercise is also an important indicator for the overall determined defense Sweden.

Aurora 17 is being conducted by naval, air and ground forces along with several other agencies working in cooperation for the greater defense of Sweden. Units from all over the country are involved to include the Swedish Home Guard and reserve force. The main exercise areas will be between MA�lardalen and Stockholm, on and around Gotland, and the Gothenburg as well as several areas along the coast.

"In order to strengthen our national defense, and exercise our capability to face an attack on Sweden, participating units will move to, and exercise in, areas outside the Armed Forces' own exercise and training areas," according to information put out by the Swedish Armed Forces.

Of the several American units joining the exercise, Minnesota National Guard Soldiers of the 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor began their mission in Skovda, Sweden, during the first week of September. Tanks, mechanized infantry and supporting elements of the battalion met with and trained alongside their Swedish counterparts learning and adapting to the new environment.

"The Soldiers are really taking full advantage of the opportunity to learn from our hosts," said Maj. Chris Bingham, executive officer and for the 1-194th and the senior American officer for the exercise.

Throughout the day the American troops from Minnesota worked to prep their vehicle and equipment as well as take time to learn a little more about the culture of Sweden.

"More than two-thirds of our formation has never left the U.S., so this will be a great educational experience for them both professionally and personally," added Bingham.

Made up of multiple elements of the 1-194th, the 180 Soldiers of the battalion form the backbone of a lethal Armor-Mechanized fighting force with the mission intent of conducting realistic training mission with and against their Swedish counterparts.

Each vehicle and individual Soldier dawned MILES gear as part of the simulated war games. These electronic transmitters will represent the actual firing of the weapon systems ranging from individual rifles to tanks, artillery and aircraft. Additionally, the systems will indicate when a soldier or vehicle has been wounded, killed or destroyed as part of the live simulations.

"This has been the best opportunity for dynamic training where we got the chance to engage unpredictable opponents and learn the best ways to react to their tactics," said Capt. Jason Laackmann, commander for Company C, 1-194th, based in East St. Paul.

September 25, 2017
by Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs

Download best photos

Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Month of the Military Child recognizes contributions of military kids

Posted: 2018-04-07  01:54 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The month of April is designated as the Month of the Military Child to recognize the contributions and sacrifices military children make so their family members can serve. An estimated 15,000 children in Minnesota have been affected by the deployment of a parent.

"Military children bear a lot while their family members serve," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "It is up to us to support these resilient kids and help to lessen their burden."

An event to honor military kids in Minnesota will take place April 13, 2018, at the Mall of America rotunda from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Activities will include appearances by the Teddy Bear Band and meet and greets with Nickelodeon characters.

Forging a path to career success

Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.

Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.

Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."

Article archive