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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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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."



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