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JOHNSTON, Iowa - Red Bull Soldiers and supporters gathered during the 34th Infantry Division Association's 65th Annual Reunion hosted by the Des Moines, Iowa Chapter at the Stoney Creek Inn in Johnston, Iowa, Oct 5-6
The association, originally established in 1946 shortly after World War II, was a grass-roots organization started by young men who fought together in North Africa, Tunsia, Anzio and other battlefields during the war Through the years, Red Bulls across the country have gathered annually to reminisce of old times with comrades sharing stories of their service to get a chuckle, or haunting stories of the battlefields on which they once fought
"I joined in '93 I didn't even know there was an association," said Iowa National Guard Col Ron Albrecht, outgoing president of the association "The first reunion I attended was in Waterloo, Iowa, with the Ironman chapter where over 3,000 participants attended at the Sullivan Center The speaker was former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen John Vessey I learned more about the history of the 34th Infantry during that reunion than I ever knew existed"
During Albrecht's time as president, he worked to get today's Red Bull generation interested in the association Nearing the end of his own military service, Albrecht hopes the association can continue to serve our past and present Red Bull Soldiers
"This new generation needs to carry on the tradition," said Albrecht "The purpose of the association is to take care of Red Bull Soldiers: where they are, where they are going, how their families are Many Soldiers get out and miss the camaraderie That is where the association comes in, the Iraq war veteran explained
"This is another way for them to be a part of the military It's not about rank It's about us as Soldiers," he said
World War II Red Bull veteran, Ben Kroll, of Charles City, Iowa, shares the Red Bull pride with many reunion attendees
"So many divisions never had reunions, but not the 34th," Krall said with a slight smirk as he reminisced of past reunions Krall, who served as an ammunition truck driver in Company F, 2-133rd Infantry Regiment, said he was honored to wear the unit patch Kroll served with many units throughout the war and even participated in the invasion of Italy, but his loyalty was always with the Red Bulls
"I still want to do something, to do my part," he said "I joined because I wanted to I love the division for all they have done: Twenty-one won the Medal of Honor, for all those that passed before me, for what these warriors went through, for their bravery Oh, they were tops!"
Regrettably, World War II Red Bulls are becoming sparser at reunions This year there were seven World War II veterans in attendance The generation is becoming so sparse that the Tri-State Chapter of the association announced their deactivation during the reunion The Tri-State Chapter, based out of Amsterdam, NY, served the Red Bull veterans located throughout the East Coast
Where one falls, another will pick up During the association's official business meeting, Minnesota National Guard Maj Jason Burley, the 34th Inf Div public affairs officer, announced the establishment of the Commander's Chapter, which is the first active chapter in Minnesota for nearly 20 years In addition to the establishment of the new chapter, Burley motioned the Commander's Chapter to host the reunion scheduled for 2014
"The Minnesota Chapter of the 34th Inf Div Assoc is very excited to be the host of the 2014 reunion," Burley announced "We are very much looking forward to providing a world class event and following the precedent set by the Des Moines chapter
"Soldiers of the 34th Inf Div, and the issues that affect them will be the driving force behind the activities and priorities of the Minnesota Chapter We're excited about the future of the chapter"
Red Bulls and Red Bull supporters nation-wide are encouraged to participate in association activities in order to build camaraderie and support past and present members and their families Individuals interested in becoming members can visit the association website at 34idaorg to obtain registration materials The 34th Infantry Division Association can also be found on Facebook
Story by Sgt 1st Class Ashlee Lolkus
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
Oct 5, 2012
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.
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.
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.
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.