Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
Cokato soldier provides security for Gov. Pawlenty while serving overseas
AUG. 16, 2010

Spec. Nelson also awarded Combat Action Badge

By Kristen Miller

CAMP PHOENIX, AFGHANISTAN – Specialist Jake Nelson, a 2005 Dassel-Cokato High School graduate now serving with the South Dakota Army National Guard in Afghanistan, had the honor of protecting Governor Tim Pawlenty last month.

Nelson is currently with the 196th Security Force team, responsible for transporting unit personnel, providing personal security, and medical support at Camp Phoenix, Afghanistan.

Nelson’s job July 23 was providing security for Governor Pawlenty, while he visited troops at Camp Phoenix.

Pawlenty was traveling with governors from four other states, including Governor Mike Rounds from South Dakota, and General Craig McKinley, commander of the United States National Guard, according to Nelson.

Also during the visit, Nelson was presented, along with his team, a US Army Combat Action Badge, by Governor Rounds.

Nelson and his team earned this badge after taking enemy fire while on a mission in Kabul earlier last month.

“It was a great experience to meet the governors, as I was able to talk, eat lunch, and provide personal security for Governor Pawlenty and the other governors.

The governors were traveling throughout southwest Asia, visiting with service members and receiving an overview of military operations and reconstruction efforts in the region.

“To be a part of this ceremony is very special,” said the South Dakota governor.

“To have the opportunity, along with the 196th, in the awarding of these four badges is something I will always remember,” Rounds said. “These soldiers are in harm’s way, but they are taking care of each other and getting the job done.”

The Sioux Falls-based 196th has been providing installation management for 11 military bases known as the Kabul base Cluster in the capital.

This is the first time this badge has been awarded to 196th members since assuming command of the KBC June 26.

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