25 June 2012

Iowa Brigade Welcomes New Command Team

Commanders of Iowa's 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division, past and present. From left to right, Maj. Gen. Timothy E. Orr, the adjutant general of the state of Iowa; Col. Ronald Albrecht; Col. Benjamin J. Corell, the outgoing 2-34th BCT commander; Col. Michael G. Amundson, incoming 2-34th BCT commander.

Editor's note: Earlier this month, elements of the Iowa Army National Guard's 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division (2-34th BCT) conducted annual training at Camp Ripley, Minn. and Camp Dodge, Iowa. This was the first "normal" annual training since 2009.

At annual training in 2010, some 3,000 citizen-soldiers of the 2-34th BCT prepared for deployment to Eastern Afghanistan. The unit returned in July and August 2011, too late for those soldiers who had deployed to conduct annual training.

The 2-34th BCT often informally calls itself as the "Ryder" brigade, a reference both to its peacetime radio call sign and to World War II division commander Maj. Gen. Charles Wolcott Ryder. Ryder commanded the U.S. 34th Division from May 1942 to July 1944, through operations in the North African and Italian campaigns.

In U.S. Army radio-telephone tradition, the commander of a unit is usually designated by the numeral "six." Hence, the 2-34th BCT commander referring to himself in this article as "Ryder-6."


'Ryder Brigade Welcomes New Command Team'
By Staff Sgt. Chad D. Nelson
2-34th BCT Public Affairs

Iowa Army National Guard

The 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division (2-34th BCT), held consecutive "change of command" and "change of responsibility" ceremonies June 18, 2012, during annual training at Camp Ripley, Minn.

Col. Michael G. Amundson took command from Col. Benjamin J. Corell. Command Sgt. Maj. William L. Adams assumed responsibility for the soldiers from Command Sgt. Maj. Joel M. Arnold.

Maj. Gen. Timothy E. Orr takes the brigade colors
from a smiling Col. Benjamin J. Corell,
outgoing 2-34th BCT commander.
U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Chad D. Nelson
Assisted by Arnold, Corell commanded 2-34th BCT when the unit deployed to Eastern Afghanistan. It was the Iowa National Guard’s largest deployment since World War II.

During a 2005 to 2007 deployment with Minnesota's 1-34th BCT to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Corell and Arnold had also previously served as command team of Iowa's 1st "IRONMAN" Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment (1-133rd Inf.), headquartered in Waterloo, Iowa. Arnold was also first-sergeant of Bravo Company , 1-133rd Inf., when Corell commanded the unit on a 2003-2004 peacekeeping rotation to Sinai, Egypt with the Multinational Force and Observers (M.F.O.).

Arnold was recently assigned as the 34th Division's command sergeant major. The unit is headquartered in Rosemount, Minn.

The Camp Ripley event was unique, in that it consisted of both a change of command and a change of responsibility. However, Maj. Gen. Timothy E. Orr, the adjutant general of the state Iowa and previous 2-34th BCT commander, was quick to note how it was a fitting marriage: “It isn’t about individuals, it’s about teams.”

During his speech, Orr commended the outgoing command team of Corell and Arnold. “Your duty performance was just absolutely outstanding,” he said. Orr noted the challenges of moving more than 3,000 troops to Afghanistan, and leading them in the execution of "full-spectrum operations"—everything from training Afghan police to closing with and destroying the enemy.

“You brought that brigade,” he said. “You prepared it, you organized it, you trained it and you led it into combat. You took care of the soldiers, you brought them home and you reset them,” Orr said.

Orr also addressed the capabilities of the incoming command team.

This is a team that has been around awhile; they grew up in the brigade,” Orr said. Amundson, Corell’s “right-hand man,” deployed to Afghanistan as the deputy commanding officer of the brigade. Adams most recently served as the command sergeant major for the 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry (1-168th Inf.), Council Bluffs, Iowa. During the Afghan deployment, Adams served as command sergeant major for 334th Brigade Support Battalion (334th BSB). Both the 1-168th Inf. and 334th BSB are 2-34th BCT units.

“This brigade is in great hands,” Orr said.

The incoming command team plans to build upon the foundation created by the outgoing team.

Col. Benjamin J. Corell presents a saber to incoming Command
Sgt. Maj. William L. Adams in a "change of responsibility"
ceremony conducted June 18 at Camp Ripley, Minn.
U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Chad D. Nelson
“[Arnold and I] sat at Bagram Air Base and talked a lot about the things he did to improve the brigade. I will stand before you and tell you those things are going to continue. The standards we lived up to, we’re going to carry on and improve upon,” Adams said.

“[Corell’s] mentorship and guidance over the last two years has been instrumental in my development as an officer and a future commander,” Amundson said.

Arnold also took note of Corell’s guidance and sense of teamwork.

“From the very first time we worked together, Corell said, ‘We are a team; we make it happen together.’”

Arnold also took this opportunity to impart some final words of wisdom.

“The road is now yours ... You’re going to take your own road, but remember: Excellence is contagious and success breeds success.”

During Corell’s remarks, he reflected on the tremendous responsibilities involved in deploying a U.S. National Guard infantry brigade combat team.

“Major muscle movements ... seminars, Leadership Training Programs, individual medical and training requirements, collective training requirements, logistical validations, issuing equipment, Rapid Fielding Initiatives, the list seemed to go on and on,” he said.

After moving 3,000 citizen-soldiers to annual training at Camp Ripley, Minn. in June 2010, to mobilization station at Camp Shelby, Miss. in July 2010, to Fort Irwin, Calif. and the National Training Center in September 2010, and to combat in Afghanistan and back, Corell looks back fondly on his command.

“It has been a great ride. It’s time for me to move on. For the last time, ‘Ryder-6, out!’”

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