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Minnesota National Guard
TAG and CSM visit injured troops in Ga.

Maj. Gen. Larry Shellito and Command Sgt Maj Robert Boone visited several injured troops who were deployed with the 1/34th Brigade Combat Team Apr 17 in Georgia

At Ft Gordon, where injured Minnesota National Guard Soldiers are parts of Companies E and F at the Medical Retention Process Battalion, the two leaders inspected the facilities, the morale of the troops, but most of all, they listened to the concerns of Soldiers and began to devise plans for improvement The first order of business for improvement was to ensure all Red Bull Soldiers in Co E and F were aware of each other and able to contact one another Of the 12 Minnesota National Guard Soldiers who spent time with the leaders, only three or four new about other 1/34th BCT Soldiers who were also stationed at Ft Gordon

"As I'm looking around the room, here," said Command Sgt Maj Robert Boone, "I see that we have a lieutenant, it looks like we have a platoon sergeant, some squad leaders and Soldiers that can fall into squads We've got the makings of a platoon here"

The Soldiers are now in contact with each other, and are able to use each other as a support system, but they still had deep concerns From billeting conditions, to transportation issues, to poor internet access, and especially with understanding the medical process, Soldiers expressed their concerns and asked what their commander to do for them to improve conditions

"On the weekends, if you need to get to the PX or something, they might be there " they might not," said Staff Sgt Scott Degneau "It's the guys who either just got back from Iraq, or the ones who were injured training for Iraq, who are doing all the work The company full-time staff: they're here Monday through Friday and that's pretty much it There's no way to contact them if something happened after hours"

The root cause of the problems appeared to be that the Soldiers' recovery location is grossly understaffed

Following the meeting with the Soldiers, Maj. Gen. Shellito and his staff met with Command Sgt Maj Lester Williams, Medical Retention Process Battalion and discussed Soldiers' concerns

"Some of this can be helped by our Soldiers being in contact with each other," said Maj. Gen. Shellito "But the bottom line is, I'm going to go back to my congressional delegation, and let them know you are under funded"

Following the trip to Ft Gordon, the leaders paid a visit to Spc Ryan Puttbrese, Co A, 2nd Combined Arms Battalion 136th Infantry at the VA Hospital in Augusta, Ga Spc Puttbrese was injured in the improvised explosive device explosion that killed his comrade, Sgt Greg Riewer Though he is currently in a wheelchair because of shrapnel wounds to his legs, Spc Puttbrese is making a steady and speedy recovery

By Cpl Joe Roos
April 17, 2007
April 17, Leaders Visit Injured Troops in Ga. photo gallery

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Red Bulls Kickoff Division Warfighter

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