/*********************************************** * 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
Back in the U.S.A.

By FRITZ BUSCH Journal Staff Writer

CAMP DOUGLAS, Wis - Minnesota National Guard Specialist Josh Zupfer of New Ulm made his vacation plans before a chartered DC-10 landed at Volk Field Monday night as the sun began to set in central Wisconsin

After 20 months away from home on active duty and a record-setting 16 months of combat duty in Iraq, Zupfer and 11 of his fellow Soldiers plan to spend a few months apart from each other before uniting again for an October vacation together in Hawaii

"It's awesome to be back here It feels good to be back home,"� Zupfer said after turning in his M-16 rifle and making some cell phone calls

Zupfer was among about 260 Soldiers from the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery based in New Ulm; B Battery of Fairmont and C Company of Iowa Falls, Iowa, who rode the airplane for about 20 hours from Kuwait to Bangor, Maine before landing in Wisconsin

Everybody's got plans

Sgt Al Bonnifield of New Ulm wants to reunite with his family for the first time in 40 months, because one of his brothers also served in Iraq Then he'll vacation in Texas before returning to Minnesota to fish and duck hunt

"I just want to be myself again,"� Bonnifield explained

Craig "CJ" Schmidtke of New Ulm talked about his feelings

"I never realized how beautiful green grass and trees are It's good to be here The family and I will visit my wife's parents on Green Lake, then head to the woods up North,"� Schmidtke said

Scott Krzmarzick of New Ulm plans to travel to Florida to visit his sister and his new niece for the first time before returning to study business at Bethel College He's just one semester from graduation

Major Brad Ommodt of Odin plans take a couple weeks off before going to work by vacationing near Nisswa with his family

Soldiers left the 120-degree, but dry heat of Scania in Southern Iraq and spent a few days in Kuwait before flying back to the United States

In Kuwait, where Soldiers said the sand hangs in the air like fog, they enjoyed the culinary delights of McDonald's, Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream, Green Bean Coffee and Chinese food for the first time in nearby two years before flying to Maine where it was cool and green outside

Major General Rick Erlandson talked to the Soldiers briefly before they boarded buses to nearby Fort McCoy where they'll spent a week of medical exams, psychological counseling and other out-processing

Then, they'll before ride buses to their home armories and join their families

The process is part of Beyond The Yellow Ribbon, designed to track to Soldiers for three 30-day periods after they return home Events are scheduled 30 days apart to smooth the transition back to civilian life

Erlandson thanked the Soldiers for their record-setting service that he said set the bar high for others to follow

"You truly made a difference, doing a tremendous job with 500 days record-setting, continuous combat zone service that got national recognition You gave the nation of Iraq the opportunity for something better Don't let anybody tell you any different,"� Erlandson explained

He told Soldiers to take the time with their families slowly

"One day at a time You've changed and so have your loved ones They've made sacrifices too,"� Erlandson added

Soldiers were urged to take advantage of Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program and all its resources

For more information, visit www.MinnesotaNationalGuard.org

Article source: http://www.nujournal.com/News/articles.asp?articleID=8118

Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Minnesota State Fair Military Appreciation Day to recognize women veterans

Posted: 2018-08-27  12:34 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The Minnesota State Fair's eighth annual Military Appreciation Day will take place Tuesday, August 28, and provide an educational opportunity for all fairgoers to learn about Minnesota's military community. This year's theme is honoring Minnesota's women veterans.

"The Minnesota State Fair is a great opportunity to bring our community together to show appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our state's veterans," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, The Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "This year, I am proud to stand with women veterans as we highlight their stories and contributions to our armed forces."

Minnesota Guardsmen learn survival skills, train with Norwegian counterparts

Posted: 2018-07-03  01:36 PM
NOREX 45 Over the course of 10 days, 100 Soldiers and Airmen from the Minnesota National Guard who traveled to Norway June 17-26, 2018, for the 45th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange learned valuable survival skills and shared their knowledge with members of the Norwegian Home Guard. This year's exchange was the second to take place during the summer months in the history of the longest-running military partnership between two nations.

"It was a great experience for both the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard," said Capt. 'Kiwi' HorgA�ien, the senior Norwegian instructor. "A cultural exchange, a social exchange and military exchange all packed into one."

The 45th exchange got off to a late start, with flight delays causing the trip to be shortened from its normal length of two weeks. The delay meant that the Minnesota Guardsmen jumped right into training, heading out to the field after just a few hours of sleep.

133rd Airlift Wing Emphasizes Combat Readiness Training

Posted: 2018-06-29  10:48 AM
Alpena ALPENA, Michigan - Approximately 300 U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participated in a readiness exercise at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Alpena, Mich.

The exercise, tagged as Iron Ore, was designed test the Airmen abilities to set up operations at an unfamiliar location and receive in depth training on Ability-To-Survive and Operate (ATSO) principles while supporting airlift and aeromedical flight operations.

To ensure mission success and readiness, Airmen had to complete training at home station prior to leaving for Alpena. Some of this training included weapons qualification, gas mask fit testing, Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) familiarization, self-aid and buddy care and career field training.

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."

Article archive