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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Congressional Staffers Tour Pentagon, Camp Ripley and Air Wings

Earlier this month, Congressional Staff members were treated to a whirlwind tour of St. Paul's 133rd Airlift Wing, The Pentagon in Washington D.C., Camp Ripley, MN, and the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, MN. This four day event brought together Congressional staffers from Minnesota and their counterparts from their D.C. offices to receive first-hand experience with the Minnesota National Guard, its history and future objectives.

After a quick overview by the command staff of the Minnesota National Guard, participants flew to Washington D.C. aboard a 133rd Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules out of St. Paul. Arriving in D.C, the Congressional Staffers toured the National Guard Museum and were briefed by the National Guard Bureau. The Congressional Staffers also had the opportunity to address concerns of their respective U.S. Representatives.

At the Pentagon, they discussed the extension of the 1/34th Brigade Combat Team, the latest TRICARE developments, and other issues important to the military in Minnesota with Secretary Thomas F. Hall, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs.

The staffers and their military escorts flew back to Minnesota to experience Army training at Camp Ripley. After an environmental overview by the state DNR office, the group flew in UH-60 Black Hawks downrange where they took turns firing the main gun of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

The next leg of the trip brought the staffers to the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth. After a tour of the base, each attendee had the opportunity to sit in the cockpit of a F-16 Fighting Falcon. The Congressional Staff Trip was capped off with a fine dinner at Mancini's Char House.

By Staff Sgt. Daniel Ewer
April 3, 2007
April 2, Minnesota Congressional Staff Trip photo gallery





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A look at leadership during NOREX

Posted: 2015-03-06  01:26 PM
NOREX leader CAMP RIPLEY, Minn.- The 42nd Annual American-Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange took place on Camp Ripley, Feb. 12-25.

"The exchange included over 100 Norwegian Home Guard Soldiers and a like number of Minnesota National Guard Service members," said 1st Lt. Blair Marden, platoon leader for over 30 Norwegian youth conscripts.

The "youth," as they are called, are made up of young individuals who learn professional development and career skills before joining the Norwegian military. They range in age from 18-21, both male and female, and have been included in the exchange since its first year in 1974.



Train as you fight

Posted: 2015-03-05  09:18 AM
SSG Cameron Gilliam CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait- Staff Sgt. Cameron Gilliam is constantly moving--before, during and after a fight. His opponents usually stand in their corner, maybe move their arms and jump a little bit, but nothing like Gilliam. He paces back and forth at about a five-foot space near his corner. Only when the referee looks at him to begin the fight does he shuffle his feet. After the fight begins, he closes in on his opponent. They exchange a few jabs, some landing while others hit air. Then Gilliam goes in for a takedown. He wrestles his opponent to the ground, focusing more on achieving a good choke position than landing punches. His opponent focuses on punching Gilliam wherever his fist can land. His opponent tries to stand up, but he'll always land back on the ground. Eventually--whether it is one, two or three rounds in--Gilliam submits his opponent when he's most vulnerable.

Gilliam, a Woodbury, Minnesota, native and information technologist noncommissioned officer with the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade deployed to Camp Buehring, Kuwait, has been training in mixed martial arts for the past four years at Spartan Martial-Arts in Oakdale, Minnesota. Gilliam wrestled at Woodbury high school, but he never planned to start MMA.



Minnesota Guardsman overcomes severe injury with positive attitude, hard work

Posted: 2015-03-04  09:39 AM
James Houdek CAMP RIPLEY, Minn.- A little more than a year after Chief Warrant Officer 2 James Houdek was severely injured in a farming accident near his Little Falls, Minn., home, he is back to work with the Minnesota National Guard and adapting to life with a prosthetic.

"When I came out of the first surgery, they were telling me that they were hoping that within a year I would be able to hold a pen," said Houdek. "Since then I've come a lot further, a lot more than what they had thought."

On Nov. 12, 2013, Houdek took a day off from his full-time job as a wage leader at Camp Ripley's Consolidated Maintenance Activity - South to harvest corn on his 60-acre hobby farm. Halfway through, he stopped to check on his machinery, leaving the tractor running. When he went to clear some corn out of the husking bin of the picker, his right arm was pulled into the shaft. As he was trying to pull his right hand out, his left hand got caught in another shaft, trapping both his arms in the machine.



Norwegian Home Guard gets inter-agency training

Posted: 2015-02-25  03:15 PM
NOREX CAMP RIPLEY, Minn.- Soldiers of the Norwegian Home Guard conducted inter-agency training with state and local law enforcement, Feb. 12-23, 2015, at Camp Ripley.

"The training conducted by the Norwegian Rapid Reaction Force, or RRF, is based on the National Guard's focus of inter-agency cooperation in time of need," said Lt. Col. Bryce Erickson of the Minnesota National Guard.

The training was organized as part of the American-Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange; which is in its 42nd consecutive year between the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard.



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