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History
Minnesota National Guard
At Last! They're home

Finally, they're home After a mobilization in September 2005, throughout a six-month train-up in Camp Shelby, Miss, a scheduled 12 month deployment into the heart of Iraq which was extended by 120 days during the troop surge, fallen heroes, wounded Soldiers and the hardships of war "22 months later, the Minnesota-based 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Division is finally home

Throughout their deployment, the 1/34th BCT Soldiers set the standard for theater security operations They worked with Marines, Sailors, Airmen, contractors and Iraqis to give the Iraqi people the opportunity for a better life Their successful operations were instrumental in apprehending insurgent and Al Qaeda operatives, while conducting extensive civil affairs projects, such as schools for Iraqi children and water purification for Iraqi villages

"You have set the standard," said 34th Infantry Division Commanding General Maj. Gen. Rick Erlandson to his returning troops "There wasn't a week that went by that I didn't receive e-mails from the highest echelons of the Pentagon, telling me about the excellent job that you Soldiers were doing over there"

Maj. Gen. Erlandson was echoing, no doubt, the reports from the Pentagon, but also the reports from commanders on the ground With Soldiers from 34 states, the 1st Brigade Combat Team wrote an important chapter in the history of the Red Bulls

"These men have risen their level to be as brutally efficient in a combat zone as any unit in Iraq today, or during the three tours that I've been here," said 2nd Marine Corps Expeditionary Force Commander Col George Bristol of one distinguished unit, the Crookston-based Co B, 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry "They are, simply put, a company of heroes I am proud to have led them, served with them and bled with them"

Through the extended deployment, among other accomplishments, The Brigade Combat Team traveled more than 24 million convoy miles for missions, discovered 462 improvised explosive devices, captured more than 400 detainees, built seven reverse osmosis water purification plants and built 90 miles of road in the Dhi Qar region The 1/34th BCT also revolutionized the way roads were securely traveled, by employing Iraqi citizens to clean up and maintain roads, which became the equivalent of the "Adopt a Highway" program in the US

Of the 21 fatalities sustained by the 1/34th BCT, nine of the fallen heroes were from Minnesota Sgt Brent Koch, Sgt Kyle Miller, Staff Sgt Joshua Hanson, Sgt Bryan McDonough, Sgt Corey Rystad, Sgt Nicholas Turcotte, Sgt Maj Michael Metille, Staff Sgt James Wosika and Staff Sgt Greg Reiwer are the fallen Minnesota Soldiers certain to never be forgotten

As the planes landed at Volk Field, Wis, one after the other the Soldiers let their guard down for just a moment to take in everything around them Some laughed, some cried, some played a simple game of catch with an American football or rolled around in the grass they had almost forgotten They talked about how good temperature felt, they marveled at how green everything looked, they awed at how fragrant everything smelled

But in the end, they knew this was only a stepping stone on the road back to their families The Soldiers left to undergo their demobilization processing at Ft McCoy, Wis Following their demobilization, however, the journey back to their lives is not done The Soldiers went through training that is designed specifically to reintegrate them back into their home communities

But the training doesn't stop when the Soldiers get home Additional training and assistance continues with 30, 60, and 90-day reintegration training In addition, Soldiers will also have opportunity to attend marriage enrichment workshops or single service member retreats; state and federal support programs and VA medical, mental and emotional care for those who are in need

"The mission stressors change The stress doesn't go away, it just shifts around," said Capt Russell Bacon, 88th Regional Readiness Command about the change from the combat Soldier to the Citizen Soldier "You go from a culture of danger to a culture of relative safety One is limited, but very practical; the other is free, but with a lot of rules to go with it We take three to six months to train [Soldiers] to go to war, and when [they] come back, it's hours"

Throughout the demobilization process at Ft McCoy, Soldiers are given several briefings on how to handle these stressors in life This program, entitled "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" assists Soldiers in recovering their normal life It begins by teaching Soldiers about their Veterans Benefits and enrolls them in the VA, as well as give them a head-start in changing to that Citizen Soldier when they return home

This reintegration training is the first of its kind for Guard and Reserve units that don't have the constant military support that Active Duty components can provide Minnesota is modeling the behavior of what the program will look like for other states, nation-wide

For more information about the return of the 1/34th Brigade Combat Team and Reintegration training visit www.MinnesotaNationalGuard.org

By Cpl Joe Roos and Sgt Daryl Sanford, Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
20 July, 2007

July 23, HHB 1-125 Reunion, New Ulm

July 23, 1-125 Reunion, Fairmont

July 22, A 2-136 Infantry Reunion, Anoka

July 21, 2-136 Infantry Award Ceremony

July 21, C 2-135 Infantry Reunion, Owatonna

July 20, A 2-135 Infantry Reunion, West St. Paul

July 20, HHC 1-34 BTB Reunion, Bloomington

July 19, E 2-136 Infantry Reunion, Hutchinson

July 19, HHC 1-34 BSB Reunion, Brooklyn Park

July 18, 1/34 BCT Units are back

July 17, A Co. 1-34 BSB Reunion, Brooklyn Park

July 17, A Co. 1-34 BSB Reunion, Camp Ripley

July 16, C Co. 1-34 BSB Reunion, Cottage Grove

July 16, HHC 1-34 BCT Reunion, Bloomington

July 15, The next wave of returning troops land at Volk Field

July 11, Return of the 1st Brigade Combat Team

July 11, 1st Brigade Completes Mission in Iraq

July 10, Return of the 1st Brigade Combat Team





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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."



Minnesota-based aviation unit takes part in Warfighter Exercise

Posted: 2018-06-08  11:59 AM
34ECAB WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - More than 150 Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade are here participating in a multi-echelon training event, Warfighter Exercise 18-5, May 30 to June 15.

The exercise, which is part live and part virtual, is testing the St. Paul, Minnesota-based aviation unit's ability to conduct operations and mission command in a high-intensity, complex operating environment. Soldiers are being challenged to take decisive action as they focus on air-ground operations -- or synchronizing and integrating aviation operations into the scheme of maneuver planned and conducted by forces on the ground.

In this case, the units on the ground are being commanded by the Rosemount, Minnesota-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, which is also participating in the exercise.



148th Fighter Wing hosts STEM program for Duluth-area students

Posted: 2018-06-05  08:52 AM
Starbase Duluth DULUTH, Minn. - Dozens of community and industry leaders passionate about helping children become more engaged in science, technology, engineering and math gathered at the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, Minn., May 24, 2018, to see what STARBASE Minnesota Duluth is doing for young students in the area.

STARBASE is a Department of Defense youth program that engages students in STEM studies. The program began in 1991, and STARBASE Minnesota was founded in 1993 in St. Paul, which expanded to Duluth in July 2017.

Currently, the school program is open to fifth-grade students, said Charity S. Rupp, the director of STARBASE Minnesota Duluth. The summer camp will serve students in 4-6th grade. Eventually, she hopes the program will expand into STARBASE 2.0 to serve middle school students as an after school program during the academic school year.



Minnesota National Guard leaders visit traveling tribute in Austin

Posted: 2018-05-22  10:16 AM
Traveling Wall AUSTIN, Minn. - A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was on display May 16-20, in Austin and leaders of the 347th Regional Support Group took the opportunity to visit during the event's closing ceremony.

The display, dubbed the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, was hosted by Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Austin and featured a near-replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C.

"It was an honor to be part of this humbling and moving tribute to our Vietnam veterans," said Col. Stephen Schemenauer. "The traveling Vietnam Wall is a powerful display, and this event provided an opportunity to meet, and thank, service members from WWII to present-day conflicts. Regardless of their branch of service, or the era or conflict in which they served, we all share a common bond."



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