The Minnesota National Guard today announced that Brigadier General David Elicerio will take command of its 34th Red Bull Infantry division.
Elicerio will assume the new command early next month, taking over from Major General Richard Nash. Nash was named Adjutant General of the Minnesota Guard.
Elicerio led the 2005 Iraq Deployment of 34th's First Brigade Combat Team, which ended up being the longest such deployment of the Iraq war.
Elicerio said topping his agenda as the new commander of the 34th will be making sure he gets the money for training and equipment his troops will need despite expected cuts in defense spending.
"They want challenging and realistic training that will replicate and prepare them again when the call comes for deployment," Elicerio said. "It will be a challenge now -- how do we continue to train, to provide realistic, challenging training for these soldiers? Keep equipment readiness as high as it has been in the past five years on a reduced budget."
Elicerio also said he think the so-called "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" program has proven extremely effective in helping returning troops assimilate back into civilian life.