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Minnesota National Guard
New Commander for Recruiting and Retention

Minnesota National Guard ROSEVILLE, Minn- Lt. Col. Mike Pazdernik took command of the Minnesota Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion during a Change of Command ceremony, Dec 13, 2013, in the gymnasium of the Roseville Armory Pazdernik replaced Lt. Col. Stephen Burggraff in a traditional passing of the colors

Brig Gen Neal Loidolt, Director of the Joint Staff and 34th Infandtry Division Commander spoke at the ceremony, reflecting on Burggraff's nearly eight-year career in the battalion "In 2006, Maj Burggraff's Metro Recruiting Team enlisted 727 new soldiers and over 90 percent met or exceeded their production mission That is more than we enlisted in one year when I was Recruiting and Retention Manager," said Loidolt

Burggraff started his career in the battalion in 2005 He held positions to include team commander, operations and training officer, deputy commander and commander Only a deployment to Basra, Iraq in 2009, as executive officer of the 34th Division Special Troops Battalion, interrupted his tenure

As commander he is credited with leading the nation's number one recruiting and retention battalion in the US Army, as they were the first to reach mission three years in a row, from 2011-2013

In the last few years Burggraff lead his team to amazing results The Recruit Sustainment Program ranked in the top five in the nation regarding ship rate, training completion and honor graduates produced The officer and warrant officer missions exceeded mission by 175 percent The goal to recruit diverse members not only exceeded expectations, but also earned the battalion the 2012 Army National Guard Diversity in Recruiting Award and a Hispanic Marketing Achievement Award Pazdernik comes to the Recruiting and Retention Battalion with a much different background As an armor officer, in both the active Army and the Minnesota Army National Guard, he has served in a variety of leadership positions and deployed three times: to Bosnia in 1999, to Iraq in 2004-2005, and to Kuwait in 2011-2012

As a full-time member of the Minnesota National Guard, he has led the way in training Soldiers as battalion training officer, deputy post commander of Camp Ripley, brigade training officer and state training officer

During the ceremony Pazdernik said he had a strong support system backing him, as his wife Air Force Lt. Col. Barb Pazdernik was once a recruiter

The entire Recruiting and Retention Battalion and dozens of Minnesota National Guard senior leaders witnessed the ceremony

December 18, 2013
by 1st Lt Melanie Nelson
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs

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