| 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
Camp Ripley strikes first before wildfire season
Posted: 2017-03-24 10:19 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Every spring Camp Ripley begins its annual controlled burn program to help reduce the risk of wildfire during training.
"Usually the burns are completed every spring before the summer annual training season begins," said Tim Notch, training area coordinator on Camp Ripley. "However, the warmer weather conditions provide a nice opportunity for preventative burns earlier this season."
As in years past Camp Ripley will conduct controlled burns on approximately 13,000 acres of the 53,000-acre military reservation. The burns are done in coordination with the staffs of the Camp Ripley Department of Public Works and the Camp Ripley Environmental Department along with support from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Minnesota Guardsman earns recognition through Leads 2 Enlistment program
Posted: 2017-03-23 09:46 AM
DULUTH, Minn. - Pfc. Trevor Nelson received the Minnesota Distinguished Recruiting Ribbon and a Minnesota Recruiting and Retention Battalion medallion for excellence from Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Serbus, March 18, 2017, at the Duluth Armory. Nelson earned these awards as part of the online referral system, Leads 2 Enlistment for referring four friends who have joined the Minnesota National Guard.
"I talked to some buddies in my school about the Guard. They liked the benefits, so I put their info in the app and let my recruiter take over." said Nelson. "I thought it would be fun to serve with friends and help them figure out their path in life."
Nelson is currently a senior at Cloquet Senior High School and assigned to the Recruit Sustainment Program in Duluth. He attended basic training at Fort Benning in the summer of 2016 with follow-on training in the summer of 2017 to become an infantryman.
Litchfield and Local Veteran Honor Gen. John Vessey at Armory Open House
Posted: 2017-03-10 08:50 AM
LITCHFIELD, Minn. -Bruce Cottington, a Navy veteran of WWII and Korea, donated a bronze bust of Gen. John W. Vessey, Jr. to the Litchfield National Guard unit during the armory's public open house event March 4. Cottington, a Litchfield resident, commands the Minnesota Chapter of the Veterans of Underage Military Service. VUMS members enlisted in the military prior to the minimum age requirement in order to serve their country during WWII. Cottington received the bust from Vessey, a fellow VUMS member. Both enlisted in the military at the age of 16.
The highlight of the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion open house was the unveiling of the sculpture. The unit was very supportive when Cottington proposed donating the sculpture. The Litchfield community has always been very supportive of the National Guard over the years, so the open house was a chance to say 'thanks' to their neighbors. "This was a great opportunity to honor Bruce and to honor Gen. Vessey," said B Co., 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion Commander, Capt. Seth Goreham. Bravo Company also has a tight relationship with the local American Legion and VFW. Many Litchfield citizens are former members of Bravo Company, or the unit's predecessors A Co, 682nd Engineer Battalion, and the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company.
Camp Ripley welcomes new command sergeant major
Posted: 2017-03-08 03:29 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The garrison command team of Camp Ripley, family, friends and colleagues from the Minnesota National Guard attended a Change of Responsibility ceremony between Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Worden and Command Sgt. Maj. Matt Erickson, March 5, 2017, at Camp Ripley.
The ceremony was an official "passing of the sword" from one senior noncommissioned officer to the next and assumption of the duties and responsibilities that go along with the position of Garrison Command Sergeant Major.
As with many military ceremonies those in attendance welcomed Erickson as a new member of the team and bid farewell, recognized and thanked Worden for his service.