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Minnesota National Guard
34th Red Bull Infantry Division Recognizes New Commander

Minnesota National Guard 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

For more information about the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, please visit our page at www.MinnesotaNationalGuard.org/34id, or like us at www.facebook.com/TheRedBulls

Dec 7, 2013
By Sgt. 1st Class Ashlee Lolkus
34th Infantry Division Public Affairs



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