Published On: Thu, Jan 9th, 2014

Area residents help 189th pick up national honor

LINCOLN — The 189th Unit of the Nebraska Army National Guard, which includes several Cedar County soldiers, recently received national recognition for their work in logistical and maintenance management.

Area soldiers accepting the award on behalf of their unit were: 1st Sgt. Mike Olsen, Coleridge; Capt. Cory Huskey, Lincoln; Staff Sgt. Justin Olson, a Randolph High School graduate who now lives in Pierce, and Sgt. 1st Class Jon Wren, Wayne.

Gov. Dave Heineman was present at the ceremony at Camp Ashland when the unit was honored for taking first place in the Logistics Excellence, Unit Level Category.

According to Heineman, the awards presented at the ceremony are indicative of the quality of work that Nebraska National Guardsmen do on a daily basis.

“The units that are represented really are the national champions of the National Guard, and that’s the expectation that we have because literally, the job that you do, as important as it is, we have to be the best every single day.”

Lt. Gen. Raymond Mason echoed the Governor’s thoughts and referred to the Units in the Nebraska Army National Guard as “the best of the best.”

Mason, the U.S. Army’s deputy chief of staff for logistics, had made a special trip from Washington D.C. to Nebraska to find out what enabled the Nebraska Army National Guard to stand out against units from across the world including units from the Guard, Reserve and active component.

Mason toured Nebraska Army National Guard supply and maintenance facilities to see firsthand how the Nebraska units have excelled after seven Nebraska units were recognized in the Excellence Awards contest.

Just by looking at the supply rooms and facilities, Mason said he could see how passionate the soldiers are about their jobs in Nebraska.

“You all have bragging rights for all you have accomplished,” Mason told the soldiers.

One-hundred units across the U.S. along with units overseas competed for the awards according to 1st Sgt. Mike Olsen, Coleridge.

“A two day inspection showed that the 189th met all army standards with paperwork, records and equipment—which included radios, weapons and trucks and other equipment,” Olsen said.

Logistics involve transporting food and supplies for the military according to Olsen.

“It is movement of everything – it is getting the stuff to the battlefield,” Olsen said.

Members of the 189th Unit attend training one weekend each month along with an annual two week training during the summer.

A number of the soldiers in the 189th Unit have ties to Cedar County.

Olsen enlisted in the Army while he was still a high school student at Coleridge. He served three years active duty and has now been in the 189th Unit for the Nebraska National Guards for 25 years.

Aaron Olsen, Mike’s son, joined the 189th Unit when he was a junior at Coleridge High School.

Justin Olson, a 2003 Randolph High School graduate, has been with the National Guard 189th Unit for 11 years.

Olson said winning first place in the Logistics Excellence national competition “was very exciting.”

Greg Lammers, Norfolk, and his brother Chis Lammers, Ainsworth, both serve with the 189th.

Greg, a Laurel-Concord graduate, has put in 22 years with the unit. Chris, a Cedar Catholic graduate, has been in 10 years.

Three Campbell brothers are with the 189th.

Jody, who lives in Belden, is in his 14th year with the unit. Brian, from Laurel and Casey, who lives in Norfolk, are also members.

Trent Bottolfsen, a 2011 Cedar Catholic graduate, has been with the unit for three years.

“I enlisted during my senior year for an eight-year total obligation,” Bottolfsen said.

Bottolfsen is currently attending college in Omaha.

Other members with connections to Cedar County include: Josh Nelson, Hartington; Chris Rohde, Randolph High School graduate; Katie Bartels and Riley Lund, both Laurel-Concord High School graduates.