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Minnesota National Guard
1/34 BCT opens sixth water plant with international presence

CAMP ADDER, Iraq " Children, officials, sheiks, Italians, Australians and US Soldiers were present for the opening of a reverse osmosis water-treatment plant in Al Kuaam, Iraq, a small rural farming village of 2,000 people on the south bank of the Euphrates River on Feb 18, 2006

"We all know how important clean water is to public health, agriculture, and economic development", said Lt Col Larry Herke, chief of staff for the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division "The water treatment plant is a great example of the Iraqi Government making progress to restore basic services to the people of Iraq," said Herke

The water purified by the plant is available to passersby through free faucets on site and distributed through out the village by water trucks for a fee

To put this in context, consider conditions before the plant opened: water was delivered from a neighboring city at the price near three US dollars for 45 gallons The average unskilled laborer in Al Kuaam earns about $30 a month Most families have at least eight members At the Red Cross's minimum recommended one gallon per person per day, a typical family's 240 gallon monthly water debt would cost more than half their total budget Unable to afford clean water, most families would draw water from the local rivers According to UNICEF, two million tons of raw sewage is released into Iraqi rivers each day Using contaminated water is one of the reasons why 80% of all patients at the local hospital suffer from water borne diseases

"The plant is capable of providing 20,000 liters of water an hour," said Capt Colin Fleming, deputy civil military operations officer for the 1/34 BCT

The 20,000 liters of water an hour is more than enough water for Al Kuaam The plant can now provide enough clean water for more than 150,000 people

The construction of the plant employed more than 45 local contractors and engineers funded by Coalition Forces through the 1/34 BCT Since unemployment in the area is a major cause of unrest, the workers and their family members are thankful for the jobs in addition to the safe water

The event was attended by Italian officials from the Provincial Reconstruction Team and Australian Soldiers of the Overwatch Battle Group West 2 Civil Military Cooperation team The Australian team attended to meet with local officials and work towards their own reconstruction projects in Dhi Qar province

Al Kuaam is located 70 miles west of An Nasariyah, the capital of Dhi Qar province in southeast Iraq

The Al Kuaam plant is the sixth of its kind opened during the deployment of the 1/34 BCT
The Minnesota National Guard 1/34 BCT includes Soldiers from Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, New Jersey, Georgia, and California plus several active-duty units

Spc Brian D Jesness
Feb 28, 2007
1/34th BCT Public Affairs


Feb 18, 1BCT Opens Sixth Water Plant photo gallery





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Litchfield and Local Veteran Honor Gen. John Vessey at Armory Open House

Posted: 2017-03-10  08:50 AM
Vessey Bust LITCHFIELD, Minn. -Bruce Cottington, a Navy veteran of WWII and Korea, donated a bronze bust of Gen. John W. Vessey, Jr. to the Litchfield National Guard unit during the armory's public open house event March 4. Cottington, a Litchfield resident, commands the Minnesota Chapter of the Veterans of Underage Military Service. VUMS members enlisted in the military prior to the minimum age requirement in order to serve their country during WWII. Cottington received the bust from Vessey, a fellow VUMS member. Both enlisted in the military at the age of 16.

The highlight of the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion open house was the unveiling of the sculpture. The unit was very supportive when Cottington proposed donating the sculpture. The Litchfield community has always been very supportive of the National Guard over the years, so the open house was a chance to say 'thanks' to their neighbors. "This was a great opportunity to honor Bruce and to honor Gen. Vessey," said B Co., 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion Commander, Capt. Seth Goreham. Bravo Company also has a tight relationship with the local American Legion and VFW. Many Litchfield citizens are former members of Bravo Company, or the unit's predecessors A Co, 682nd Engineer Battalion, and the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company.



Camp Ripley welcomes new command sergeant major

Posted: 2017-03-08  03:29 PM
CSM Erickson CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The garrison command team of Camp Ripley, family, friends and colleagues from the Minnesota National Guard attended a Change of Responsibility ceremony between Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Worden and Command Sgt. Maj. Matt Erickson, March 5, 2017, at Camp Ripley.

The ceremony was an official "passing of the sword" from one senior noncommissioned officer to the next and assumption of the duties and responsibilities that go along with the position of Garrison Command Sergeant Major.

As with many military ceremonies those in attendance welcomed Erickson as a new member of the team and bid farewell, recognized and thanked Worden for his service.



Norwegian youth recognized for response to vehicle accident

Posted: 2017-02-22  09:59 AM
NOREX youth CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Norwegian youths Stian Dahl and Haavard Engen received the Camp Ripley Garrison Commander's coin from Col. Scott St Sauver February 19, 2017, in recognition for reacting to a vehicle accident they witnessed earlier that week.

As part of the U.S.-Norway Reciprocal Troop Exchange, Norwegian youths ages 19-20 are matched up with a host family in order to spend an evening experiencing American culture. In most situations the "Buddy Weekend" as it's called allows the youths to go shopping, attend events and have home-cook meals along with their host family.

"We are able to match up youth members with families all over the state," said Staff Sgt. Tim Krouth, Buddy Weekend organizer. "Lots of the families have hosted one or two of our Norwegian friends for several years in a row now, it a great way to relax and see some of Minnesota."



To the top of the mountain and back, NOREX 44 members embrace the Norwegian winter

Posted: 2017-02-21  01:25 PM
NOREX FTX HALTDALEN, Norway - After two days at a base camp near Haltdalen, Norway, Minnesota National Guardsmen participating in the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange were ready for the most challenging aspect of their four-day field training exercise - a ski march up the mountain.

It was Day three of the FTX, meaning members of the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange had slowly adjusted to surviving and thriving while living in a winter environment and also honed their skills on cross country skills well enough to begin a climb that would take nearly three hours.

"Our goal was to get you to know how to use the winter, see how the Norwegians use the winter, and how we survive the winter so we can conduct combat," said Vidar Aune, one of several members of Home Guard 12 guiding the Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen during their training here. "By getting the experience living outside in the snow, you manage to survive it and handle it quite well."



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