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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Aviator Retires After Three Decades of Service

Minnesota National Guard Army Col Michael Huddleston, who most recently served as commander of the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB), retired from the Minnesota National Guard during a ceremony at Army Aviation Support Facility #1 in St Paul, April 29, 2013

"Ladies and gentlemen, I must start by saying to Colonel Huddleston, congratulations on 30 years of service," said Minnesota Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Richard Nash before presenting Huddleston with his Honorable Discharge, the Legion of Merit, Order of St Michael and a Certificate of Commendation

For Huddleston, the road to earning those accolades began in 1981, when he began his military career as a cadet, attending basic training and airborne school He later received his commission as a second lieutenant in the military intelligence branch in 1983 After several years as an active duty officer - time that included duty assignments in South Korea and missions in support of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm - Huddleston transitioned to the Minnesota National Guard in 1993

"I first met Mike in 1993 when he was still a captain," Nash said "I didn't know it at the time, but this captain would someday be charged with guiding the 34th CAB and the Minnesota Army National Guard aviation community through a fast-paced time filled with state active duty support as well as support to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn"

By the time he retired, Huddleston was a master aviator with more than 2,500 helicopter flight hours He held numerous job titles, including battalion and brigade level training officer, brigade executive officer, director of Army aviation and both battalion and brigade command positions

"Mike, you never let me down," Nash said "Your aviation units have always been ready to support our state and federal missions No doubt, the leadership that you have provided has helped guide the Minnesota Army National Guard through many transformations"

"Good luck to you as you search for new challenges," Nash said "You have made your mark in the Minnesota National Guard, and we are better for it"

Story by: Army Sgt Patrick Loch, 34th CAB
Photos by: Air Force Staff Sgt Paul Santikko and Army Master Sgt Daniel Ewer
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
May 9, 2013

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