Sergeant Jenny Linnell of Pine City is 22 years old and on her first deployment in Iraq, serving with the Army National Guard 1-94 Cavalry Able Troop out of Hibbing. She left Minnesota in May 2011 for training, traveled with her unit to Kuwait and Iraq later on that summer, and is due to ret…
Private First Class Calvin Lee Arend is serving with the Army National Guard (First Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor) at Camp Virginia in northern Kuwait. The 21-year-old is on his first deployment, and will return home in May.
Many convoys escorted through Iraq by the Minnesota National Guard were struck by roadside bombs, but few encountered what one Pine City unit did on Oct. 31: not one but two bombs in the course of an hour.
Specialist Noah Bucholz of Pine City is serving his country in a unique role - as a legal resource for the Minnesota National Guard forces serving in Kuwait and - until recently - Iraq.
In Camp Taji north of Baghdad stands a remnant of the regime of Saddam Hussein. Hundreds of broken-down tanks, guns, bridging vehicles and other military hardware stand out in an open yard covered with dust. Many of these are Russian-made tanks provided to Hussein by the former Soviet Union.…
The holidays are an emotional time for most Americans, and for many Minnesota National Guard members stationed in Kuwait this Christmas, the days and miles between them and their loved ones is never felt more than at this time of year.
We were woken up at just after 1 a.m. By 2 a.m. we were, as they say here, "good to hook." Second Lieutenant Modeen was pleased with his guys, that they were able to pull it together and hit the road so quickly.
Spent some time this morning with Second Lieutenant Modeen working on convoy issues. We were riding around in the Caiman, which is our only transportation. It's odd to be hopping into a multi-million dollar war machine to run up to get lunch, but I'm getting used to it.
Today we woke up in Toomer's Trucker's Inn. It's a big bunkhouse in Camp Taji made to house hundreds of soldiers. It's not bad - hot showers and semi-clean latrines out back.
We woke around 6 a.m., with an 8 a.m. scheduled start time for the push north to Camp Taji. Once again, a meeting and prayer. We put on helmets and body armor. We get lined up and roll out the gate.
After making it through customs, I was picked up at a prearranged spot in the airport shops by two Minnesota National Guard members in plain clothes, Sgt. Adam Ramirez and Cpl. Trisha Betz.
About 300 miles north of the Kuwait/Iraq border, our armored vehicle is slowing down. The rear armored vehicle has spotted a car driving erratically as it approaches our convoy.
It takes teams within teams to safely escort a convoy into and back from Iraq. All the Minnesota National Guard armed vehicle crews work together to protect the convoy and scan for threats, and in each of those vehicles rides three members who depend on each other to do their job and get eac…