(JOHNSTON) The Iowa National Guard 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division (Red Bulls), has been awarded the Department of Defense’s prestigious Citizen Patriot Unit Award.
Red Bull leadership was presented the award by the Office of the Secretary of Defense Reserve Forces Policy Board during a presentation on September 5th 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.
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 Maher (Honey Creek), Spc. Donald Nichols (Shell Rock), Staff Sgt. James Justice (Grimes), and Sgt. 1st Class Terry Pasker (Cedar Rapids).
The Citizen Patriot Award for Distinguished Service, awarded annually to one individual and one military unit across the Department 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.
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.