34th Infantry Commander appointed head of Minnesota National GuardMajor General Richard Nash, currently the Commander of the 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division headquartered in Rosemount, will become the 30th Adjutant General.
Governor Tim Pawlenty announced Aug. 26 the appointment of Major General Richard C. Nash to be the 30th Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. Nash succeeds Major General Larry Shellito who announced his retirement in June.
“I am humbled. I couldn’t be more honored to lead the fine men and women of the Minnesota National Guard,” said Nash at a press conference.
In the new position Nash will head the administrative leg of the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs and lead the Minnesota National Guard. Shellito will end his seven-year term as the adjutant general Oct. 31.
A governor-appointed search committee selected Nash as a finalist for the position after Shellito announced his retirement. Retired Lt. General H. Steven Blum served as the chair of the search committee. He was the Deputy Commander, United States Northern Command from 2008 to 2010, and served as the Chief of the U.S. National Guard Bureau from 2003 to 2008.
“On behalf of the Search Committee, we are confident Major General Rick Nash will be a strong leader for the Minnesota National Guard in the years to come,” said Blum. “General Nash has been a tremendous leader for the state of Minnesota and our country.”
Nash is currently the Commander of the 34th Infantry Red Bull Division headquartered in Rosemount. As commander of the Red Bulls he led more than 1,200 soldiers representing 273 Minnesota communities and 14 states during an historic 12-month deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Red Bulls provided command and control of military forces in the southern third of Iraq and led a force of approximately 14,000 U.S. service members throughout nine of Iraq’s 18 provinces.
“General Nash has shown great leadership and resolve commanding Minnesota’s famed Red Bulls during a historic and unprecedented combat tour in Iraq. As a 25-year Marine Corps veteran and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I commend General Nash for his service and congratulate him on this appointment,” said Congressman John Kline.
Minnesota boasts the nation’s fifth largest National Guard, with more than 14,000 members operating in 63 facilities throughout the state. Since 2003, the Minnesota National Guard has deployed more than 18,000 citizen-soldiers in support of military operations around the world. The Guard also assists local authorities during natural disasters at the direction of the governor.
“Major General Rick Nash is a strong, seasoned and conscientious leader of the Minnesota National Guard and he will be a tremendous Adjutant General,” Pawlenty said. “Whether fighting floods at home or fighting for freedom around the world, Major General Nash understands the multiple missions of the Minnesota National Guard. He has a proven track record and will continue the tremendous work of Major General Larry Shellito in leading the Minnesota Army and Air National Guard in the future.”
Nash’s military service began with his enlistment into the Infantry in 1972. Prior to his current assignment, Nash served as Special Assistant to the Combatant Commander, North American Aerospace Command, United States Northern Command. He also served as the commanding general for the Minnesota National Guard’s peacekeeping deployment to Bosnia in 2003-04. More than 1,100 members of the Minnesota Army National Guard were deployed in support of the mission.
Nash has been the recipient of a number of awards throughout his military career including the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal and NATO Medal. His Minnesota awards include the Commendation Ribbon with Pendant, State Active Duty Ribbon, and Distinguished Recruiting Ribbon.
In addition to his military career, Nash has worked in the construction industry for more than 30 years. He has been awarded 10 patents as the sole or co-inventor of manufacturing equipment that has revolutionized the process of producing pre-stress concrete construction components, according to a press release from the Governor’s office.
Nash earned his bachelor of science degree from Mankato State University and graduated from the Army War College. Originally from Jordan, Nash and his wife, Jeanette, now live in New Prague. They have two children - a son, Ryan, and daughter, Kelly.
The new job comes with new challenges. In 2011 approximately 2,700 Minnesota National Guard Soldiers will deploy for operations throughout Kuwait and Iraq when the Bloomington-based 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, will leave in support of Operation New Dawn, the drawdown phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom.