Lt. Col. Charles “Chip” Rankin took command of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Red Bull Infantry Division during a ceremony Saturday at the Training and Community Center in Rosemount.
Rankin, a former Litchfield High School teacher and wrestling coach who is now superintendent of Minnewaska Area Schools, said the command is an honor.
“I enlisted as a private nearly 28 years ago and have had the honor of serving our great state multiple times on state active duty and our nation on three combat deployments,” he said. “It’s a tremendous honor that I get to continue to serve as the commander of the finest brigade in our Army. I look forward continuing to develop the soldiers of the organization, collaborate with our community partners, and sustain the legacy of the brigade.”
Rankin, who replaces Col. Timothy Kemp, comes to the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team following a successful battalion command with 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment based in Mankato, Minnesota. Rankin and 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry Regiment recently returned from a nine-month tour supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in the Horn of Africa.
Rankin was commissioned as an infantry officer in the Minnesota Army National Guard in 1998. He deployed to Iraq in 2006-2007, Afghanistan in 2011-2012, and the Horn of Africa in 2020- 2021.
After successfully completing his tour as commander from 2018-2021, outgoing commander Col. Timothy Kemp has assumed duties as the Chief of Staff for the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division.
“I feel blessed and honored to have led this brigade. It’s been the capstone of my career thus far,” said Kemp. “I am extremely proud of the hard work and dedication of these Red Bull soldiers and am grateful for their service while I had the honor of being their commander.”
The Rosemount, Minnesota-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.