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Minnesota National Guard
Should the Red Bull Division Have a Postage Stamp?

Dave Rasdal/SourceMedia Group News

CEDAR RAPIDS - Dick Binger doesn't easily take "no" for an answer He thinks the National Guard's Red Bull Division needs a commemorative postage stamp But the United States Post Office has indicated otherwise


"No," disagrees Dick, 82 "With over 3,000 troops over there (in the Mideast) and all the division has been through, I think they need a stamp named after them

"It's a group with a long history, an honorable history," Dick adds

Of course, his enthusiasm is fueled by the fact he was a Red Bull for 16 years, 6 months and 10 days

"Rather than go in for weekends," Dick says, "when I came down here (to Cedar Rapids) I quit That was the dumbest thing I ever did"

Born in Rudd, Dick enlisted in the National Guard in nearby Charles City on June 3, 1948

He was 20 when he became a flag bearer; 37 when discharged as a master sergeant He spent his working years as a warehouse worker, a manufacturer's representative in building specialties and cabinet hardware He's lived in Cedar Rapids half a century and retired 13 years ago

"How this all started," Dick says, "I was at Sam's Club There was a young woman in fatigues waiting for somebody I saw the Red Bull patch on her shoulder I told her, "I like your patch I served in the Red Bull Division'

"And do you know what she did? She said "˜Thank you, sir Thank you for serving'

"That blew me away"


Yes, here Dick was, simply trying to make conversation, when a young soldier's gratitude sent shivers up his spine

So, Dick decided to do something about it Since that day, eight months ago, he tried to reconnect with his former commander, only to learn he died in 1992 He also had a brainstorm - why not a postage stamp?

After all, the Red Bull (34th Infantry) Division goes back to 1839 and "The Honey War" over the Iowa-Missouri border It was the first US Division shipped overseas for World War II, setting a record for 517 days of continuous front-line combat It spawned the US Rangers It had the longest single deployment of a National Guard unit in Iraq in the early 1990s Members are in Afghanistan and Iraq now

Originally the "Sandstorm Division," it took the Red Bull name after member Marvin Cone, a Cedar Rapids artist, won a design contest with a steer's white skull superimposed around a Mexican water jar as troops from Iowa, Minnesota, the Dakotas and Nebraska trained in the New Mexico desert in 1917

So Dick wrote to Iowa's Congressional delegation and heard back from Rep Steve King who forwarded the information to the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee of the US Postal Service The March 1 reply from Sandra Calos, a government relations representative, acknowledge receipt of the information, said stamps for 2013 and beyond are being considered, and explained that certain criteria must be met for a stamp

"It appears," she wrote, "that this suggestion may not meet criteria number 14 Due to the large number of individual units within the military services, stamps will not be issued to honor individual groups or units"
She closed by saying his letter goes into the committee's files

Probably, to be lost So Dick's not giving up

How many stamps are issued each year? Look what they depict, from Elvis to African Elephants to flowers and dinosaurs In 1953 a National Guard stamp was issued with the words "The oldest military organization in the US" But why not for outstanding military divisions that have fought for our freedom and helped maintain it?

"If we could just get a member from the family of each person over there," Dick says, "we can light a fire under them that, yes, it is important"

Comments: (319) 398-8323; daverasdal@sourcemedianet
Posted March 28, 2011

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