| 1st Brigade Combat Team Honors Outgoing Commander and Welcomes New
August 15, 2012 By Gina Szafraniec
Colonel Jon A Jensen is the new commander of the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division At the Change of Command Ceremony on August 11, 2012 in the gymnasium of Normandale Community College, Jon A Jensen replaced Colonel Eric D Kerska in a traditional passing of the colors of the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team 34th Infantry Division The ceremony included remarks by each Colonel and Major General David J Elicerio In attendance were their families and hundreds of Minnesota Red Bulls
In an emotional speech Colonel Eric D Kerska, who was deployed three times, repeatedly thanked the Brigade and his staff for what they had accomplished since he assumed command on July 1, 2009 Colonel Kerska used his speech to honor the men, women and families of the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team 34th Infantry Division and only referred to himself when sharing the level of pride he had for them "You define me and it all ends today That makes me very sad," said Colonel Kerska "If I lived a hundred more years, nothing would make me more proud of you at this moment"
Colonel Eric D Kerska addresses the men and women of the 1st Heavy Brigade combat Team 34th Infantry Division in the Change of Command Ceremony Seated from left are Major General David J Elicerio and incoming commander Colonel Jon A Jensen
Colonel Jon A Jensen spoke briefly and like Colonel Kerska moved the attention away from himself and placed the honor of his new command position on his family, friends and service
Major General David J Elicerio described how Colonel Jensen's command position during this transition time would differ from Colonel Kerska's command position "The challenge ahead of you is huge I am confident you are the right man for the job"
Major General David J Elicerio passes the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team 34th Infantry Division colors to Colonel Jon A Jensen
From August of 2011 until April 2012, the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team 34th Infantry Division conducted missions in Iraq and Kuwait for Operation New Dawn They supported US forces in the drawdown phase of US military operations in Iraq and were responsible for base management, force protection and convoy security
Their mission was the largest logistical drawdown since World War II "This has certainly been a very busy and successful year," said Colonel Kerska
For base management, the Brigade ensured billeting and life support for over 81,300 soldiers throughout five bases in Kuwait and processed over 180,000 personnel into and out of Kuwait For force protection, the Brigade conducted over 335 area reaction force missions, driving over 16,720 miles, and conducted over 11,925 quick reaction force missions, driving over 82,264 miles in Kuwait For convoy security, the Brigade conducted convoy escort and security over 28 million miles, escorted 27,000 trucks and 359,000 personnel, performed 1,200 sustainment and logistics missions in Iraq and supplied over 554 million gallons of fuel to US forces in Iraq
In a deployment ceremony at Fort Snelling on May 22, 2011, Governor Mark Dayton entrusted Colonel Kerska with an American Flag and asked for its safe return along with the men and women All of the men and women under Colonel Kerska's command returned home
During the ceremony the wives of each colonel were presented with flowers and Colonel Kerska received an award and gift
Learning to instruct professionalism and discipline
Posted: 2017-04-19 02:15 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - It was a challenging and rewarding two weeks for members attending the Army National Guard Funeral Honors Instructor Course, April 1-14, at Camp Ripley.
Soldiers of National Guard units from all over the United States took part in the course designed to educate team leaders in a variety of funeral honor detail tasks, traditions and responsibilities.
"It's a stressful course, but for our job, we have to be prepared to do our job under stress; and we all really benefitted from that," said Class Honor Grad, Sgt. Ryan Valline of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.
Chaplains support Muslim Soldiers by finding common ground
Posted: 2017-04-18 01:42 PM
ROSEMOUNT, Minn. - The Soldiers of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division had a unique opportunity to speak with one of the U.S. Army's five Muslim chaplains April 7-10, 2017. U.S. Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Khallid Shabazz, I Corps deputy command chaplain, travelled from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Minnesota to provide professional development for the division chaplain section.
"Soldiers perform at a higher level when they are spiritually fit," said Minnesota National Guard Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Buddy Winn, the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division command chaplain. "And, it's our job as chaplains to make sure Soldiers have their spiritual needs met, regardless of faith. Having Chaplain Shabazz here as a Muslim Chaplain provides the diversity in religious background that we can't provide internally."
There are five major religions supported by the chaplaincy: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, but over 200 religions are recognized. Chaplains can only perform services for their particular religion, but they can provide support for all Soldiers, regardless of their faith.
Howling with pride - Minnesota Service members honored by MN Timberwolves
Posted: 2017-04-14 04:25 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - For the third consecutive year, Minnesota service members were honored with on-court recognition and other VIP treatments as part of the Minnesota Timberwolves Heroes of the Pack Program.
"We are very appreciative for what the military does for us, and we wanted to give something back to honor the military," said Roger McCabe, who along with wife, Nancy, is a driving force behind the recognitions through the FastBreak Foundation and Roger & Nancy McCabe Foundation. "This is our way of doing it."
Having lived through the Vietnam War - and with Roger and Nancy both having parents who served - the two philanthropists decided a few years back to build upon existing recognition efforts already underway by the Timberwolves. And with that, recognitions that were typically happening at Target Center in November expanded to include Minnesota Service members from all branches at every home game - a total of 41 honorees per season.
Red Bulls move vehicles for partnership exercises
Posted: 2017-04-12 03:22 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Soldiers of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division wrapped up a week-long rail load operation Sunday at Camp Ripley in preparation for several upcoming international training exercises.
Vehicle crewmen from the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry based in Moorhead, worked with railroad personnel from BNSF Railway to stage, load and secure their equipment in preparation for movement.
"It was a lot of work and lessons learned, but it was awesome seeing the completed product," said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Reiten, readiness non-commissioned officer for C Co., 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.