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34th Red Bull Infantry Division Recognizes New Commander
ROSEMOUNT, Minn - In a ceremony rich with military tradition, the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division command was passed at the Rosemount National Guard Armory, Dec 7 The occasion marks the beginning of a new era in 34th Red Bull Infantry Division history
Brig Gen Neal Loidolt assumed command of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division from Maj Gen David Elicerio who held the position since November 2010 The Change of Command ceremony symbolized the official transfer of individual authority and responsibility of an organization from the outgoing to the incoming commander
"Under Elicerio's command, our time-tested reputation for excellence [was] maintained in a splendid fashion, thanks to the hard work and dedication of nearly 23,000 Citizen-Soldiers aligned for training across eight different states," said Maj Gen Richard Nash, the Minnesota National Guard adjutant general, who was the presiding officer for the ceremony "It is now General Loidolt's opportunity to lead our exceptional men and women as the Red Bulls prepare to enter a century of service to our state and nation"
The 34th Red Bull Infantry Division will celebrate its 100th Birthday in 2017
"It is not lost on me that I am taking command of a storied Army division," said Loidolt, alum of St Cloud State University and Hamline University School of Law "Formed by Citizen-Soldiers from Minnesota, Iowa and other plains states in 1917, the "Sandstorm Division," as it was known then, laid a foundation that would shape the future of our nation's military
"I am both humbled and proud to be considered worthy to lead this great division and its great Soldiers," he said as he ended his speech "The challenges and opportunities before us are great and we are ready to excel"
During the ceremony, Elicerio spoke of the many accomplishments celebrated and also the challenges endured by the division over the time of his command Additionally, he spoke of the current preparedness of its Soldiers and the challenges that lie ahead
"There are many challenges that face us as we move forward into the coming years," he cautioned "Force structure adjustments, shrinking budgets, resiliency in the force the list goes on In this, the division is lucky to have the right person in Brig Gen Neal Loidolt to lead them in a turbulent time The Soldiers of this division will be lead by the best for the foreseeable future"
The official party also included Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Richard Nash and Chap (Maj) Michael Crawford Attending the event was the tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen John Vessey, First Army Commander Lt Gen Michael Tucker, Maj Gen Harry Sieben, Maj Gen Jerry Lang, representatives for US Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, Minn Sec of State Mark Ritchie and Rosemount Mayor Bill Droste
Loidolt joined the Minnesota National Guard in 1984 and served in numerous senior staff positions and commanded troop units at the company, battalion and brigade levels, according to Lt Col Kevin A Olson, Minnesota National Guard's public affairs director He is a two-time combat veteran deploying to Iraq in 2006 as the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office's deputy director of operations and again in 2009 as the United States Division - South Chief of Staff
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.
Posted: 2017-02-22 09:59 AM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Norwegian youths Stian Dahl and Haavard Engen received the Camp Ripley Garrison Commander's coin from Col. Scott St Sauver February 19, 2017, in recognition for reacting to a vehicle accident they witnessed earlier that week.
As part of the U.S.-Norway Reciprocal Troop Exchange, Norwegian youths ages 19-20 are matched up with a host family in order to spend an evening experiencing American culture. In most situations the "Buddy Weekend" as it's called allows the youths to go shopping, attend events and have home-cook meals along with their host family.
"We are able to match up youth members with families all over the state," said Staff Sgt. Tim Krouth, Buddy Weekend organizer. "Lots of the families have hosted one or two of our Norwegian friends for several years in a row now, it a great way to relax and see some of Minnesota."
Posted: 2017-02-21 01:25 PM HALTDALEN, Norway - After two days at a base camp near Haltdalen, Norway, Minnesota National Guardsmen participating in the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange were ready for the most challenging aspect of their four-day field training exercise - a ski march up the mountain.
It was Day three of the FTX, meaning members of the 44th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange had slowly adjusted to surviving and thriving while living in a winter environment and also honed their skills on cross country skills well enough to begin a climb that would take nearly three hours.
"Our goal was to get you to know how to use the winter, see how the Norwegians use the winter, and how we survive the winter so we can conduct combat," said Vidar Aune, one of several members of Home Guard 12 guiding the Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen during their training here. "By getting the experience living outside in the snow, you manage to survive it and handle it quite well."