Editor's note: The following is an Iowa National Guard press release dated Sept. 7, 2012, regarding the presentation of the Reserve Force Policy Board's "Citizen Patriot" unit award in a Sept. 5 ceremony at Fort Myer, Va. For previous Red Bull Rising coverage regarding the award, click here.
Iowa's Red Bulls Recognized for 'Substantial Contribution' with DoD 'Citizen Patriot' Unit Award
By Iowa National Guard Public Affairs
One of the Iowa National Guard’s most storied units, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division (2-34th BCT), 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. 5, 2012 at the Fort Myer, Va. Officers Club.
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.
“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 service members. They will not be forgotten,” said Ingram.
“The 2nd BCT was comprised of many combat-tested leaders who understood their charge of taking the fight to the enemy to ensure our continued safety and freedom here at home,” said Iowa Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Tim Orr. “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.
“Our success was truly a collective effort. I have always been proud of the way the BCT executed its mission and of all the success we’ve achieved,” said Corell. “It gives me an even deeper sense of pride when our unit and our soldiers are recognized at the national level, as being the best in what they were asked to do for our nation.
“It was a distinct honor for me to represent not only the thousands of members of our military, from all components and branches of service who made up our Task Force, but also for our families, employers and all those who supported us throughout our deployment,” he said.
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 of Honey Creek, Iowa
- Spc. Donald L. Nichols of Shell Rock, Iowa
- Staff Sgt. James A. Justice of Grimes, Iowa
- Sgt. 1st Class Terryl L. Pasker of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Established criteria recognizes units making a substantial contribution to the security and/or defense posture of the United States of America in a manner worthy of recognition at the national level and demonstrating a quantifiable and recognizable pattern of excellence.