04 December 2014

Successful Wargame Leads to 'Red Bull' Deployment

Minnesota Army National Guard Col. Mike Wickman, the chief-of-staff for the 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division, says the headquarters' pending 2015 deployment to an Ebola-response mission in West Africa is the result of unit readiness, timing within the Army force-generation cycle ("ARFORGEN"), and an exemplary performance at last summer's Warfighter Exercise at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Wickman made his comments during an interview with Minnesota Military Radio Hour released Nov. 30. The weekly show is a privately syndicated program produced by Today's Business Radio, Minneapolis.

As part of Operation United Assistance, the 34th Inf. Div. headquarters will next spring replace the active-duty Army's 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)—the "Screaming Eagles." The 34th Inf. Div. commander, Maj. Gen. Neal Loidolt, will lead the mission.

"The 34th 'Red Bull' Inf. Div. is a proven, versatile, and capable force," said Wickman, the officer in charge of coordinating the headquarters staff functions. "It's prepared to lead military forces during this humanitarian mission, just as we've done in previous peacekeeping and warfighting missions—Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq. We train to the exact standard of the Active Component, and we're in the Army Force Generation cycle to be ready for potential deployments, and have recently successfully completed an Army Warfighter evaluation exercise."

Wickman told radio host Tom Lyons that the unit of 700 Minnesota citizen-soldiers is anticipated to mobilize and deploy around March or April 2015, and to deploy for roughly six months. The division's mission of "provide command and control to subordinate units" will remain unchanged, although specifics remain to be determined. Deployed soldiers will not be providing medical care directly to Ebola patients, Wickman said.

"Along with the standard deployment training that we'll receive, we'll also be receiving a great deal of mobilization medical training that will prepare us specifically for any of the environmental hazards that we expect to face," said Wickman. "[...] Not only will we receive very specific medical training to prepare us for the environmental conditions, but we'll get all the equipment we'll need to provide protection, and to avoid the risks we could face while we're overseas."

This past summer's Warfighter exercise was billed as the largest-ever of its kind, calcuated by number of participating units. The training event involved approximately 2,500 soldiers, comprising more than 20 units from 14 states, including National Guard units from California, Colorado, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wyoming. Army Reserve units from California and Colorado also participated, as did and active Army units from Fort Sill, Okla. and Fort Riley, Kansas.

1 comment:

  1. we have always known these Red Bulls are the best and am proud of every one of them.


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