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Minnesota National Guard
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"

change of command
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"

change of command

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
Article source
http://www.gotothecrow.com/2012/08/34th-infantry-division-change-of-command/



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