New Prague's Nash is new 'Red Bulls' commander

Major General Richard Nash of New Prague has assumed command of the 34th Infantry Division, known as the Red Bulls.

Nash took over command from Major General Rick Erlandson during a ceremony Saturday, Oct. 13, at Camp Ripley Training Center.

Formed in 1917, the 34th Infantry Division has a rich military history. It was the first National Guard division to serve in World War II, with Soldiers of the 34th serving more consecutive days in combat than any other U.S. Army division during that conflict. This tradition was upheld recently, with soldiers of the 1st Brigade of the 34th Infantry Division serving more time in Iraq than any other military unit.

The Change of Command ceremony symbolizes the continuation of leadership and unit identity despite the change in individual authority; it also represents the transfer of power from one individual to another. Passing the unit colors from the old commander to the new commander physically represents this transfer.

Major General Nash has previously served as a deputy commander for the 34th Infantry Division and led the Multinational National Force during Stabilization Force 14 in Bosnia-Herzegovina from September 2003 to April, 2004. More than 1,100 members of the Minnesota Army National Guard were deployed in support of the mission.

Major General Erlandson assumed command of the division in September 2004. Prior to that, he led more than 1,500 members of the Minnesota Army National Guard in support of the Kosovo Force from November 2003 to May 2004. Major General Erlandson has also served as Assistant Adjutant General for the Minnesota National Guard. Upon relinquishing command of the division, he will retire from service after having completed more than 35 years service.

During the ceremony, Nash talked about the tradition of the Red Bulls. The division has consistently been rated among the best guard units in the country.

In just a little more than five years time

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