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History
Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Soldiers enhance bases, safety for U.S. forces

CAMP ADDER, Iraq " The sands of southern Iraq are seeing new shapes on the horizon Construction is underway for "castles" built and manned by Red Bull Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division

These castles are new Radio Relay Points built to consolidate US Army Soldiers and resources on to larger but fewer bases providing radio communications between Baghdad and the Iraq-Kuwait border in the south

"The goal was to close RRPs, and put up a bigger garrison environment to protect the Soldiers," said Maj Michael Lins, of Savage, Minn, the BCT's engineer

The concrete guard towers and more than 15-foot concrete walls prevent damage from all conventional attacks

Lins, the safety director and fleet manager for Gresser Companies Inc, Minnesota's largest masonry and concrete contractor, designed the new bases drawing inspiration from fortresses of the past

"They are very similar to how you would design a medieval castle," said Lins, a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering

Lins worked with Soldiers of the old RRPs to incorporate modern and ancient fighting techniques into the layout of the base Similar to the use of catapults in the past, the structure features several fighting positions designed to drive a Humvee up into position to defend the base The positions allow Soldiers to fire a Humvee's turret- mounted fully automatic weapons over the high walls of the base

"The guys on the ground [at the RRPs] said, "˜how can we bring vehicles into the fight?'", said Lins
The 12 former RRPs featured impromptu wood structures and small dirt barriers for protection
The dismantling and transition of the old RRPs is being done by Soldiers from Minnesota's "Earthpigs", the Hutchinson, Minn,-based 682nd Engineer Battalion

"A lot of the guys are seeing the fruits of their labor," said engineer team leader Staff Sgt Charles Heldt of Waconia, Minn

"These guys are building the whole way through from start to finish," he said

In addition to enhanced protection, the new bases feature many upgraded amenities including living quarters and dining facilities in trailers rather than tents

"The new living conditions are 100 percent better, no bugs or dirt," said Heldt "The old dining facilities were in tents, now they are in hard stand buildings with tables and chairs,"
The new RRPs also provide greater emergency accommodations for Coalition Forces convoys traveling through southern Iraq In emergency situations the bases provide the availability of medics, lodging, fuel and mechanics

Capt Robert Metcalfe of Pequot Lakes, Minn, the assistant operations officer for the BCT's 1-34 Brigade Troops Battalion, said these new RRPS are great for convoys that have to pull off the main supply routes because of a variety of reasons that include dust storms

The building materials for the projects also are supported completely by local Iraqi contractors
"It's an Iraq first program," said Metcalfe "All contracts for the RRPs are with reputable businesses in the area"

The project of transitioning the old RRP network has also benefited Iraqi police and army units Three of the old bases have been turned over to Iraqi security forces to enhance their capabilities
The new bases have been a plan of the Army's for more than two years to improve the security and communications in southern Iraq

"Our Soldiers are benefiting from this, and the following rotations for the next couple of years will benefit," said Lins

Spc Brian D Jesness
1/34 BCT Public Affairs
1 May, 2007


May 1, Radio Relay Point photo gallery





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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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