Lately the dynamics of Leadership have been reduced to rhetoric and hyperbole. But UST congratulates it’s Doctoral student Kevin S.Gerdes for going against this grain.
He is the embodiment of the faith that Leadership speaks through the actions of the one in the many and a deep belief in the promise of the future.
“A wise commander, who recently retired, Maj. Gen. Jon Trost, told me one time that the greatest responsibility we have as senior leaders is to develop the next generation of leaders,” said Gerdes. “To that end, I am not sure I have fully done my part, but I know this: the two young men who pinned the new rank on my shoulders today are two great leaders of the future who provide Mickey and me with tremendous pride … It’s men like this, and those young soldiers who were deployed with me, that give me and all of us hope for the future.”
On November 19th during a ceremony at Camp Riley, Kevin S.Gerdes of Mahtomedi was pinned with his star by his wife Mickey Gerdes and sons 2nd Lt. Tyson Gerdes and Patrick Gerdes. His promotion to Brigadier General comes after an outstanding 32 years in military service. “Only my Mickey-my high school sweetheart-has received a longer commitment.”
Gerdes began his service as an enlisted soldier, leaving for basic training shortly after graduating from Maynard High School in 1980. He was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in 1982 through St. John’s University ROTC and has served 29 years of full-time service for the Minnesota National Guard. Now the deputy commander of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division headquartered out of Rosemount, Gerdes serves as the primary advisor to the commanding general and is responsible for the sustainment capability of the division.
“The Guard has provided me with amazing opportunities-with world-class leadership training and experience,” said Gerdes, during the ceremony. “I have had moments of mountaintop emotions from our accomplishments; and days of the deepest, darkest sorrow I have ever felt …
This promotion is truly an honor, but brings with it a new level of responsibility at the highest level in the 34th Infantry Division. I am honored and humbled to be in Maj. Gen. Elicerio’s command group and have already recognized that my leadership learning is continuing under his mentorship.”
During his military career, Gerdes has commanded at the battery, battalion and brigade levels and completed a combat tour in Iraq. Gerdes was deployed to Iraq from November 2004 through January 2006 as the commander of the Rear Operations Center, 1st Batallion, 151st Field Artillery, then based out of Camp Taji, Iraq. His soldiers coordinated support and security operations for a base with over 11,000 Coalition troops, and they provided civil support outreach to local villages. Gerdes also oversaw units attached to a military police battalion in Baghdad that provided training to Iraqi police forces and high-level security and escort capabilities.
Back home, Gerdes has held a number of significant assignments. He was the chief of staff for the St. Paul-based Joint Force Headquarters. Gerdes was also the commander of the 84th Troop Command, out of Roseville.
– Source article from story by Staff Sgt. Eric Jungels