1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division
The Rosemount-based 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Division consists of eight major subordinate commands. More than 5,200 Soldiers make up the brigade's combined arms, armor, cavalry, infantry, artillery, engineer and brigade support battalions, constituting more than half of the Minnesota Army National Guard's total force structure.
There are eight major support commands that now make up the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team: Headquarters and Headquarters Company in Bloomington; 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion in Bloomington; 134th Brigade Support Battalion at Camp Ripley; 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment in Brainerd; 1st Squadron, 94th Cavalry in Duluth; 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery in New Ulm; 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry in Moorhead and 1st Battalion, 145th Armor Regiment of the Ohio Army National Guard. The Mankato-based 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry is a Minnesota Army National Guard Battalion which administratively falls under the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team but is in an aligned for training relationship with the Iowa Army National Guard's 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Division.
In 2023, the 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team will participate in two significant training exercises, one in North Macedonia and one in France. The Orion exercise in France will be one of the largest military exercises to be executed in France in the past two decades. They will perform duties as the division asset to oversee this training exercise. In North Macedonia, the 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment will be part of a NATO multinational exercise.
From January through February of 2022, the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division welcomed home about 1,000 Soldiers from Task Force 1-194, also known as Task Force Bastards, led by Lt. Col. Jacob Helgestad and Command Sgt. Maj. Travis Manzke. The task force wrapped up a deployment, serving as the U.S. Central Command’s Regional Response Force in support of Operation Spartan Shield. Task Force Bastard supported the withdrawal from Afghanistan, known as Operation Allies Refuge, and exercises Brightstar 2021 in Egypt, and Gulf Gunnery in Kuwait.
At the end of April, about 100 Soldiers from the Little Falls-based 134th Brigade Support Battalion and the Duluth-based 1st Squadron, 94th Cavalry Regiment supported flood operations in Crookston, Minnesota. On June 2, the 94th also mobilized to International Falls, with about 160 Soldiers reinforced by 50 more Soldiers from the Brainerd-based 1st Combined Arms Battalion of the 194th Armor Regiment.
In May, the New Ulm-based 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery Regiment received and trained on 18 of the Army’s newest M109A7 Paladin howitzers. This effort is one of the largest modernization efforts for Minnesota’s field artillery community in more than two decades, taking more than two months to complete the full fielding and operational training on the systems.
In July 2022, the brigade partnered with Estonian Soldiers who trained with the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion during their annual training at Camp Ripley. In addition to international partnerships, Soldiers with 94th partnered with Michigan National Guard’s 1437th Multi-role Bridge Company, to conduct a ‘wet gap’ river crossing with their M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles over a stretch of the Mississippi River at Camp Ripley, supporting a multi-echelon training exercise.
During 2022, the 334th assumed command of Minnesota’s National Guard Reaction Force reserve mission and conducted training and validation at Camp Ripley.
In September, Brigade Commander, Army Col. Charles Rankin, presented Task Force Bastards Commander, Army Lt. Col. Jacob Helgestad, with the Deployment Excellence Award for 2021. This recognition for the large deploying unit category acknowledged the many accomplishments achieved while moving from stateside to overseas in support of Operation Spartan Shield.
- Headquarters and Headquarters Company
- 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion
- 134th Brigade Support Battalion
- 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 194th Armor Regiment
- 1st Squadron, 94th Cavalry
- 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery
- 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry Regiment
- 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment