| 834th ASB receives new leadership
The 834th Aviation Support Battalion (ASB) welcomed a new commander at a Change of Command Ceremony in St. Paul, Minn. on Nov. 15. Lt. Col. Eric Waage, the outgoing 834th ASB Commander, passed the battalion colors to Lt. Col. Michael Taff, the incoming commander, signifying the beginning of a new chapter in the battalion story.
“I am proud to have been part of such an effective unit, filled with these outstanding people, during an important period in our nation's history,” Lt. Col. Waage said.
Under Lt. Col. Waage’s leadership, the 834th ASB received the Meritorious Unit Commendation Award following its deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as part of Task Force 34 from Aug. 2008 to May 2009.
“I am particularly proud of the reputation that the 834th built in Iraq for tirelessly finding solutions to any strange and difficult logistical problems that impacted those units we supported,” Lt. Col. Waage continued.
Throughout his time in command, Lt. Col. Waage left a lasting impression on those he worked with.
“I learned a lot from Lt. Col. Waage, he has many qualities that a leader should have,” said Cpt. Daniel Dobler, Headquarters Support Company 834th ASB Commander. “He was a very good listener and was able to absorb a great deal of information, process it and come out with very logical and sound plans.”
Cpt. Dobler feels Lt. Col. Taff will also be a great leader and great fit for the battalion, because he is familiar with the 834th ASB from his previous full time job as the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) Officer in Charge, and also from the deployment where he was the 34th CAB Executive Officer.
“Lt. Col. Taff brings strong leadership abilities to the unit, and also his knowledge of the battalion and what it is capable of doing will also make him a strong battalion commander,” Cpt. Dobler said.
Lt. Col. Waage also has faith that Lt. Col. Taff will succeed.
“I've known Lt. Col. Taff for many years and have a great deal of respect for him,” Lt. Col. Waage said. “I know he is really motivated to do some great things during his tenure, so I am very happy that the unit will be in such capable hands. He will make a superb battalion commander.”
Lt. Col. Taff is ready to put his stamp on the 834th ASB.
“I had been watching this organization for some time and have noted the challenges that organization faced. The diverse mission sets of the battalion have always intrigued me,” Lt. Col. Taff said. “My first focus will be to ensure that the right leadership is in the right positions as we now assume a new mission set supporting state active duty demands.”
Lt. Col. Taff is excited to use this command as a stepping stone in his career to eventually move upward in the state and the Army.
“This will hopefully pave the way for U.S. Army War College and ultimately a Colonel position,” Lt. Col. Taff said.
Both, incoming and outgoing commanders are proud of where the 834th ASB has been and look forward to what the future holds.
Lt. Col. Waage now works with Joint Force Headquarters as the Director of Joint Doctrine, Training and Force Development, which coincides with his full-time National Guard position.
By Sgt. Jodi Krause
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
15 Nov. 2009
Minnesota National Guard and central Minnesota communities honor Memorial Day together
Posted: 2015-05-22 11:44 AM
CAMP RIPLEY - Garrison staff of Camp Ripley and other members of the Minnesota National Guard will take part in events this weekend honoring those who died in service to the United States.
"As members of the local community, we are honored to participate in Memorial Day events," said Lt. Col. Chad Sackett, deputy garrison commander at Camp Ripley. "It is right and fitting that we recognize and honor the service and sacrifice of those who died in service to our nation."
Minnesota National Guard members are speaking at events throughout the Memorial Day weekend. For those interested in attending a Memorial Day ceremony, here are a few of the listings for central Minnesota:
Fort Hood shooting victim's family receives posthumous Purple Heart medal
Posted: 2015-05-22 08:00 AM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - More than five years after Pfc. Kham See Xiong lost his life in a mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, the Xiong family received his Purple Heart in a Ceremony during Hmong American Day in St. Paul, Minn.
"Kham was an American Solider, a Hmong-American who raised his right hand and swore to defend the constitution of the United States, a Hero," said keynote speaker Brig. Gen. Kent D. Savre, Fort Leonard Wood commanding general. Savre served as commander of the 36th Engineer Brigade at Fort Hood during the attack.
Four hundred members of the Hmong and St. Paul community crowded into the Harriet Island Pavilion as rain fell, May 14, 2015, to witness the Purple Heart Ceremony.
148th Fighter Wing Excels at Combat Hammer
Posted: 2015-05-21 03:44 PM
HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah - Approximately 180 Airmen and Block 50 F-16's from the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. participated in an exercise known as Combat Hammer while at Hill AFB, Utah in early May 2015. Combat Hammer is a Weapons System Evaluation Program (WSEP) that evaluates weapon systems in their entirety.
While the exercise was about a week long for most 148FW Airmen, it was quite a bit longer for those Airmen actually building the bombs and missiles. "Typically, we are one of the first assets to show up at a deployment," said 2nd Lt. Mylii Pukema, 148FW Munitions Officer. "We show up about a week before most everyone else, so we can build up the weapons and have them ready when the jets arrive."
"It's a common misconception that weapons come already built," said Pukema. "Different weapons have different levels of configuration that have to happen. It can be a lot of detail that goes into configuring a weapon or it can be relatively simple, it just depends on the mission."
148FW Munition's Airmen were evaluated from the time the weapon came out of the box. How they practiced safety and followed tech data during the building of the weapon were key components to the evaluation process.
Red Bulls Welcome New Command Sergeant Major
Posted: 2015-05-17 10:38 AM
ROSEMOUNT, Minn. - Soldiers and family members of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division gathered at the division headquarters Sunday, May 17, 2015 to witness the change of responsibility of the Division command sergeant major.
"We are here to say thank you and farewell to Command Sgt. Maj. Joel Arnold and welcome Command Sgt. Maj. John Lepowsky as the new command sergeant major of the 34th Infantry Division," said Brig. Gen. Benjamin Corell, assistant division commander of maneuver.
According to General Baron Friedrich von Steuben, inspector general of the Continental Army in 1779, "The choice of non-commissioned officers is an object of greatest importance: The order and discipline of a regiment depends so much on their behavior, that too much care cannot be taken in preferring none to that trust but those who by their merit and good conduct are entitled to it."