| Veteran service officers will meet returning troops
Robby Robinson, Washington County’s Veterans Services Officer, will again be part of a contingent of veterans services officers from around the state who will meet returning Minnesota National Guard troops after overseas deployment and work with them to smooth their re-integration
This time, the program will be later in the spring, welcoming troops to Camp Shelby, MS
Last fall, the Minnesota Association of County Veterans Services Officers aided in the re-integration of about 90 National Guard members from Company B 2-211/ Many of them have Washington County connections, but members are from all over Minnesota and some are from other states
County veterans services officers from around the state will travel to Mississippi to start the demobilization and re-integration process for the new wave of returning troops
Part of the process will be to enroll troops in the Veterans Administration health care program, and to start the process for any veteran who will qualify for Veterans Administration benefits
Linking returning troops to their home county veterans services officer will also be key
The spring contingent will be larger than the one that returned in November, and will arrive in groups over the course of the re-integration process The benefit of meeting the troops as they arrive at the fort allows the service officers to meet one-on-one with them, so each may be asked personally, “What are your biggest concerns coming back,” Robinson said, and what can be done to help alleviate those concerns
The veterans services officers must also realize that the troops will simply want to be home, to be reunited with loved ones, Robinson said “When you’ve been gone more than a year, it’s quite a feeling when you are back here and need to readjust to family life,” he said It is always challenging when one member of the household has been carrying the whole load, to have a second person re-enter the picture
Another challenge is looking for work, for those who will not be returning to a former job And after that, Robinson said he is looking forward to visiting with the returning troops to see what else it is that they need It will be similar to the November program, but on a much larger scale, he said
Robinson and Dale Cotch, another Veterans Services Officer, conduct office hours in the county service centers in Cottage Grove and Forest Lake, as well as in the Government Center in Stillwater
Office hours are 8 am – 4:30 pm Monday through Friday in the county Government Center in Stillwater; 8 am – 4:30 pm Tuesdays and Fridays in Cottage Grove, call 651-430-6895 for appointments; and 8 am – 4:30 pm, Mondays and Wednesdays in Forest Lake, call 651-430-6578 for appointments
Red Bull infantrymen prepare for deployment
Posted: 2016-06-29 09:44 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Minnesota National Guard Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division spent June 17-30, 2016, at Camp Ripley.
The Soldiers of 2-135 Infantry are taking part in annual training in preparation for the battalion's upcoming deployment.
"Our Soldiers are well-trained, experienced and ready when called upon," said Lt. Col. Jon Ostercamp, the battalion commander, during an interview earlier this spring.
Minnesota National Guard and Norwegian Home Guard Soldiers conduct domestic operations training with local law enforcement
Posted: 2016-06-28 08:30 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Red Bull Infantry Division and the Norwegian Home Guard received training from local Minnesota law enforcement officers during a three-day domestic operations training event on Camp Ripley, June 24-26, 2016.
The training event, meant to provide both Minnesota and Norwegian Soldiers with an understanding of inter-agency cooperation between law enforcement and the military, consisted of basic instruction in crisis negotiation, active shooters and hostage rescue.
"We were asked to participate in this training exercise, which I consider an honor," said Washington County SWAT team member Chris Rheault who is a crisis negotiator and also a full-time Woodbury police officer. "This training provides everyone an opportunity to share tactics. Although we're instructing the training, it really provides us with an opportunity to all learn from each other. These Soldiers have different experiences and teach us just as much as we can teach them."
American meal welcomes warriors
Posted: 2016-06-22 09:31 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard and Norwegian Home Guard gathered together at the Camp Ripley Hanger Conference Center June 20, 2016, for the American Meal as part of the Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange. The exchange began in 1974 and is the longest-running military exchange partnership between any two nations.
The event, centered on the taste of American foods, shared the cultural and social experiences typically found here in America.
"It has been a pleasure to be here; we have a lot to learn from each other and it starts right here, with the young members of our two military organizations," said Brig. Gen. Sandra Best, chief of staff of the Minnesota Air National Guard.
Here comes the boom!
Posted: 2016-06-21 10:13 AM
FORT IRWIN, Calif. - "Earthpig One-Six, this is Bravo Six, you are clear to advance on the objective," is heard over the radio within the crowded, oven-like Bradley Fighting Vehicle operated by engineers of the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion in the middle of the Mojave Desert on June 15, 2016.
The platoon, consisting of two Bradley Fighting Vehicles and an Assault Breacher Vehicle, was preparing for a live-fire breaching mission utilizing the mine clearing line charge while in "The Box" during National Training Center rotation 16-07 for the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, at Fort Irwin, California.
"The 1st Battalion, 145th Armored Regiment, requested my platoon as an asset in an obstacle breaching lane where we used a mine clearing line charge, or MICLIC," said Sgt. Adam Clark, a combat engineer with A Co., 334th BEB. "We provide security for our ABV asset to be able to effectively launch the rocket and detonate the charges to clear whatever the obstacle may be."