One of the Iowa National Guard’s most storied units, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division (“Red Bulls”), has been awarded the Department of Defense’s prestigious Citizen Patriot Unit Award. Presented by the Office of the Secretary of Defense Reserve Forces Policy Board, Red Bull leadership received the award during a presentation on Sept. 5th, 2012 at the Fort Myer, Va. Officers Club.
Leadership from the Iowa National Guard’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry and the National Guard Bureau receive the Citizen Patriot Unit Award on behalf of the unit during a ceremony at the Fort Myer, Va., Officers Club. From left to right: Col. Michael Amundson, current Commander, 2nd BCT; Col. Benjamin Corell, former Commander, 2BCT; Lt. Gen. William Ingram, Director, Army National Guard, National Guard Bureau; and, Lt. Col. Steve Kremer, former commander, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry, 2BCT. Amundson, Corell, and Kremer are all members of the Iowa Army National Guard
According to Lt. Gen. William E. Ingram, Jr., Director of the Army National Guard, “The ‘Red Bulls’ distinguished themselves and made substantial contributions to the security and defense of the nation, while serving in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Gen. Ingram says “As one of the largest single deployments since World War II, the 2/34th BCT proudly lived up to their heritage with several members being recognized with medals of valor. More importantly, recognition is due in light of the tremendous standard in which their mission was accomplished with the loss of four servicemembers. They will not be forgotten.”
Iowa Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Tim Orr said “As in previous conflicts, the Red Bulls lived up to their history and the reputation of Iowa’s Citizen-Soldiers as some of the finest and most dependable Soldiers in the Army, and are therefore, as the nomination narrative details, most deserving of the Citizen Patriot Unit Award.” According to Col. Ben Corell, the 2nd Brigade, 34th Infantry commander, the award is a tribute to all members of Task Force Red Bulls and those who prepared the unit for the Afghanistan mission and supported the Soldiers and their families during the year-long deployment.
The unit departed Iowa in July 2010 for training at Camp Shelby, Miss. and arrived in Afghanistan in November 2010, where they transitioned into “Task Force Red Bulls.” During the course of the deployment, the unit partnered with the Afghan National Security Forces and also conducted full spectrum counterinsurgency operations. The Red Bulls returned home to Iowa in July 2011. The four Iowans killed in action during the year-long deployment were Sgt. Brent M. Maher (Honey Creek), Spc. Donald L. Nichols (Shell Rock), Staff Sgt. James A. Justice (Grimes), and Sgt. 1st Class Terryl L. Pasker (Cedar Rapids).
The Citizen Patriot Award for Distinguished Service, awarded annually to one individual and one military unit across the Dept. of Defense organization, was created in 2002 in commemoration of the Reserve Forces Policy Board’s 50th Anniversary. The Citizen Patriot Unit Award is presented to U.S. military units serving our nation.
For more information about the Citizen Patriot Unit Award, go to http://ra.defense.gov/rfpb/awards/index.html .
(Press Release: IA National Guard)