Brig. Gen. Neal Loidolt

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Focus for Red Bulls' Brig. Gen. Neal Loidolt is readiness, domestic tasks

  • Article by: Mark Brunswick
  • Star Tribune
  • December 6, 2013 - 7:47 PM

The 34th Red Bull Infantry Division of the Minnesota National Guard recognizes a new division commander Saturday.

Brig. Gen. Neal Loidolt assumes command at a time when the military faces continuing cuts from sequestration and a new peacetime mission.

“The most important thing is that we still maintain a level of preparedness,” he said. “When we are not focused on the federal mission, the war fight, we’re spending our time making sure our equipment, our training and our procedures are as well-refined as they can be for the domestic mission.”

The withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan will have a profound impact on how Guard and Reserve units operate. With reduced demand for large military formations overseas, commanders of the Guard and Reserve will be asked to do more with less. Unit commanders and senior noncommissioned officers will be asked to focus on developing leaders from within.

“We will build trust and integrity in small units, and focus on readiness,” Loidolt said.

Loidolt, who was deputy commander, assumed his command duties in October but will be recognized in a ceremony Saturday. He began his military career in 1984 when he enlisted in the Minnesota Army National Guard as an ammunition specialist. He deployed twice to Iraq in command positions. He also is assigned to the Minnesota National Guard headquarters in St. Paul working for Adj. Gen. Richard Nash.

The Rosemount-based 34th Red Bull Infantry Division oversees the training and operations of 10 National Guard brigades in six states. In Minnesota, the division has a presence in all 63 communities in which the Minnesota National Guard operates.

It is perhaps one of the most recognizable units in the Minnesota National Guard, with its bright red logo of a silhouetted bull and horns.

It is also one of the more storied National Guard units in the country. The division accounted for the most consecutive days in combat of any division during World War II. A brigade of the Red Bulls holds the record for the most consecutive days in combat for any brigade during a deployment in Iraq.

Mark Brunswick • 612-673-4434

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