/*********************************************** * 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 Mechanics Keep Vehicles Rolling

CAMP ADDER, Iraq - While other troops are resting, the Soldiers of Company B, 134th Brigade Support Battalion burn the midnight oil to ensure hard-driven vehicles stay safe on the road
Since arriving in Iraq in April, the approximately 100 troops in the Minnesota National Guard unit have worked long hours and sometimes battled the elements to accomplish their maintenance mission

Chief Warrant Officer Steven Serie, the battalion maintenance officer for the 134th BSB, said the troops have a good reason to work as hard as they do others are depending on them

If we don't do the best job that we can do and something happens to those vehicles when they're out on the road, we could lose one of our friends, one of our relatives, someone that we know, said Serie, who often turns wrenches alongside the rank and file of Co B

Even though they are just two months into their tour in Iraq, the troops have already overcome many obstacles Bravo Company is the first unit in Minnesota and one of the first in the entire National Guard to be reorganized as a field maintenance unit

Under this new system, companies no longer maintain their own maintenance personnel and instead defer to a battalion-level element that performs everything from organizational to direct support maintenance

Being the first field maintenance unit in their state meant the troops in Co B had to undergo an especially long six-month training period at Camp Shelby, Miss, before reaching Iraq As if the daunting length of the deployment weren't enough of a challenge, Co B arrived to find there was already a long line of vehicles and they were behind schedule Many of these vehicles had been in use since the invasion in 2003 and were in such bad condition they would break almost as soon as they were repaired

They are just taking a pounding, Serie said about the vehicles

> The Soldiers are also taking a pounding The unit has their shop running 24 hours, seven days a week

After experimenting with several different work schedules, the unit settled on a routine in which most of the crew work a shift from 11 pm to 11 am to avoid stifling midday temperatures

Spc Matthew Kroulik, 21, a Co B mechanic, recalled when a sandstorm rolled through in the middle of the night He put on a filter mask like the ones used by doctors to help him breathe and continued working

Despite the late hours, Kroulik said he likes the nocturnal schedule

They make for long days, but sometimes you feel a little more accomplished, you get a little more done, said Kroulik who was a school bus driver and student at Wynona State University in Minnesota

While the mechanics put their noses to the grindstone, other sections work repairing air conditioner systems, SINCGAR radios, ballistic glass, weapons, and whatever other odd jobs are needed to keep the vehicles ready for Iraq's perilous roads All of the sections work 12 hour days and seldom get days off

Leaders say the teamwork has paid off Between April 25 and May 13, Co B mechanics corrected about 950 faults in more than 100 vehicles Leaders are optimistic that if they continue at the same schedule, they should be caught up by the end of June

I think they have performed exceptionally, said Capt Heidi Gauderman, the company commander They are motivated, excited to do their MOS (military occupational specialty)- they are really dedicated to getting these trucks out on the road

Written by Spc Spencer Case

Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Red Bulls Kickoff Division Warfighter

Posted: 2018-06-13  01:38 PM
DIV WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - "A Warfighter is an exercise that allows the Division to evaluate their ability to maneuver assets in a battle," said Master Sgt. Greg Weaver, the Operations Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge for the Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion. "It is designed to focus on particular areas and specific objectives to be evaluated or tested."

The Division has geared its' planning and training efforts in preparation for Warfighter since July 2017. Coordinating transportation for Soldiers and equipment was often on the mind of Maj. David Johansson, the logistics officer for the 34th ID. With the coordination of Johansson and his team, troops and equipment all converged on Camp Atterbury, enlisting the help of 89 railcars, 280 tractor-trailers, and nearly 50 buses for the movement.

"I like to say my job is to 'quiet the noise'". Johansson continued, "The noise being a real life logistical problem that could impede the exercise."

Minnesota-based aviation unit takes part in Warfighter Exercise

Posted: 2018-06-08  11:59 AM
34ECAB WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - More than 150 Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade are here participating in a multi-echelon training event, Warfighter Exercise 18-5, May 30 to June 15.

The exercise, which is part live and part virtual, is testing the St. Paul, Minnesota-based aviation unit's ability to conduct operations and mission command in a high-intensity, complex operating environment. Soldiers are being challenged to take decisive action as they focus on air-ground operations -- or synchronizing and integrating aviation operations into the scheme of maneuver planned and conducted by forces on the ground.

In this case, the units on the ground are being commanded by the Rosemount, Minnesota-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, which is also participating in the exercise.

148th Fighter Wing hosts STEM program for Duluth-area students

Posted: 2018-06-05  08:52 AM
Starbase Duluth DULUTH, Minn. - Dozens of community and industry leaders passionate about helping children become more engaged in science, technology, engineering and math gathered at the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, Minn., May 24, 2018, to see what STARBASE Minnesota Duluth is doing for young students in the area.

STARBASE is a Department of Defense youth program that engages students in STEM studies. The program began in 1991, and STARBASE Minnesota was founded in 1993 in St. Paul, which expanded to Duluth in July 2017.

Currently, the school program is open to fifth-grade students, said Charity S. Rupp, the director of STARBASE Minnesota Duluth. The summer camp will serve students in 4-6th grade. Eventually, she hopes the program will expand into STARBASE 2.0 to serve middle school students as an after school program during the academic school year.

Minnesota National Guard leaders visit traveling tribute in Austin

Posted: 2018-05-22  10:16 AM
Traveling Wall AUSTIN, Minn. - A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was on display May 16-20, in Austin and leaders of the 347th Regional Support Group took the opportunity to visit during the event's closing ceremony.

The display, dubbed the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, was hosted by Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Austin and featured a near-replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C.

"It was an honor to be part of this humbling and moving tribute to our Vietnam veterans," said Col. Stephen Schemenauer. "The traveling Vietnam Wall is a powerful display, and this event provided an opportunity to meet, and thank, service members from WWII to present-day conflicts. Regardless of their branch of service, or the era or conflict in which they served, we all share a common bond."

Article archive