BISMARCK, N.D. — The 68th Troop Command will welcome a new commander on Sunday, Sept. 22 at the Raymond J. Bohn armory in Bismarck. The change of command ceremony will begin at 8 a.m. and the public and media are invited.
Lt. Col. Brock G. Larson will assume duties from Col. James R. Olson, who has commanded the unit since Sept. 2017. Olson is scheduled to retire in November after more than 29 years of service with the North Dakota Army National Guard.
The change of command ceremony is a time-honored military tradition that represents the formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commanding officer to another. The event is witnessed by the Soldiers of the unit, as well as other military members, families and friends.
Larson’s military service began with the U.S. Army in 1995 when he was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the Ordnance Corps through the University of North Dakota ROTC program. His assignments included maintenance platoon leader, shop officer, and battalion materiel officer at Fort Hood, Texas. During this tour of duty, he was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in support of Operation Joint Endeavor/Guard. In 2000, he commanded the 3rd Maintenance Company, 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment (PATRIOT) at Suwon AFB, South Korea. In 2001, he was assigned as division maintenance officer with the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado. In 2003, he was assigned to the Pentagon as an action officer on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, J-5, Middle-East Plans and Policy, Interagency Political-Military Cell (Iraq) and later as a logistics officer in with the Department of the Army, G-4.
In 2009 he joined the North Dakota National Guard where he was assigned as the brigade maintenance officer for the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and deployed to Kosovo with the 231st Maneuver Task Force. Upon his return, he served in many key positions in the North Dakota Army National Guard to include support operations officer, 231st Brigade Support Battalion; executive officer, 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade; and command of the 1st Engineer Battalion (Training) with the 164th Regional Training Institute. In 2016, Larson took command of the 136th Combat Service Support Battalion when they deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Larson currently commands the Recruiting and Retention Battalion. As a full-time Guard member, he has served as the director, State Partnership Program; officer in charge of the 164th Regional Training Institute; branch chief, G-3 Plans, and currently serves as the officer in charge, Recruiting and Retention Battalion.
Olson enlisted in the North Dakota Army National Guard in 1986. He was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps at North Dakota State University and has served in several leadership roles as an engineer officer in the 142nd Engineer Battalion. His most recent assignments include deputy commander of the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and commander of the 136th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion (CSSB).
Olson also has deployed for overseas missions three times. In 2000, he served in support of Operation Joint Guardian in Kosovo as a general construction platoon leader with the 142nd Engineer Battalion. He again served overseas with the unit in 2003 in Iraq as the battalion plans officer in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Olson returned to Kosovo in 2009 for a peacekeeping mission there as the future operations officer for Multinational Task Force East.
Olson holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from North Dakota State University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Mary and is a 2016 graduate of U.S. Army War College with a degree in strategic studies.
The 68th Troop Command is a command and control headquarters for more than 800 Soldiers who are organized into two battalions, one company and four separate units. The unit’s primary mission and focus is to provide command and control, as well as training, administrative and logistical support to maintain Soldier and unit readiness for missions stateside and overseas.
WHAT: Change of command for the 68th Troop Command.
WHO: Col. James Olson, outgoing commander to Lt. Col. Brock Larson, incoming.
WHEN: Sunday, Sept. 22, 8:00 a.m.
WHERE: Raymond J. Bohn armory, 4200 Miriam Ave, Bismarck, N.D.
MEDIA: No pre-coordination required. Contact Brett Miller 701-226-8638 for
The North Dakota National Guard is a trained and highly motivated force of about 4,000 Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen-Airmen. We are always prepared to provide ready units, individuals and equipment in support of our communities, state and nation. Always ready, always there.