A Peetz, Colo., ranch girl has become the new commander of the Colorado Army National Guard.
Brig. Gen. Bren Dee Rogers was promoted and assumed command of 3,800 soldiers in a double ceremony in Fort Collins Saturday, taking over from Brig. Gen. Douglas Paul.
Rogers was first promoted from colonel to brigadier general and awarded the Legion of Merit by Brig. Gen. Laura Clellan, commander of all Colorado Army and Air Force national guardsmen. In a separate ceremony several minutes later, she assumed command of the Colorado Army National Guard from Brig. Gen. Douglas Paul.
Bg. Gen. Bren Rogers’ husband, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Dave Donaldson, affixes the general’s star to her uniform. (Journal-Advocate / Jeff Rice)
Bg. Gen Laura Clellan, right, presents Bg. Gen Bren Rogers with her “general’s pistol,” a Baretta M9 9mm sidarm. Rogers will have the option to buy the pistol when she retires from the military. (Journal-Advocate / Jeff Rice)
Bg. Gen. Clellan presents Bg. Gen. Rogers her general’s flag. In the U.S. military, generals and admirals are called “flag officers” because they can fly a flag showing their command. (Journal-Advocate – Jeff Rice)
Prior to her promotion to brigadier general, Col. Bren Rogers is awarded the Legion of Merit medal by Bg. Gen. Laura Clellan. The medal is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. (Journal-Advocate / Jeff Rice)
Bg. Gen. Rogers addresses the troops of the Colorado Army National Guard during her promotion and change of command ceremony Saturday. (Journal-Advocate / Jeff Rice)
Bg. Gen. Laura Clellan bestows the colors of the Colorado Army National Guard on Bg. Gen. Bren Rogers, signifying Rogers’ assumption fo command. (Journal-Advocate / Jeff Rice)
The ceremonies, held in the First National Bank Exhibition Center in Loveland, were attended by a large number of dignitaries and representative brigades of Rogers’ command. They included presentation of a general’s flag, belt and pistol, attaching the star of brigadier general to Rogers’ uniform – a duty performed by her husband, retired Lt. Col. Dave Donaldson – and a salute from the attending troops.
The CANG’s new commander has deep roots in northeast Colorado.
Bren Dee Rogers was born in Sterling and attended school in Sterling through the fourth grade. Her family moved to the Chimney Canyons Grazing Association in 1976 where her parents managed the Association for the next 42 years. With that move, Rogers attended school in Peetz and graduated from Peetz High School in 1985. During her school years she was active in the 4-H program and was the Logan County Fair and Rodeo Queen in 1985. Upon graduation from high school, she attended Northeastern Junior College for two years. After NJC graduation, she transferred to Colorado State University in Fort Collins and graduated from CSU in 1989 with a bachelor’s of science degree in business administration.
Rogers enlisted in the Colorado Army National Guard in 1987. After boot camp, she was trained as a tactical teletype operator. In 1992, she entered the state Officer Candidate School (OCS) and, upon completion of that course, she was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Military Police Corps.
Throughout the next 30 years, Rogers has held a variety of roles throughout the Colorado Army National Guard. She started as an instructor at the OCS Academy before serving as a platoon leader, executive officer, company commander of the 220th Military Police (MP) Company. Eventually, she worked her way up to being the battalion commander of the 193rd Military Police (MP) Battalion. She also served in various battalion and brigade staff positions along the way. She commanded the 168th Regiment (Colorado Regional Training Institute); served as the interim commander Northern Command (Space) Augmentation Element; commanded the 89th Troop Command Brigade and; in 2020, began serving as the Deputy Commander of the Colorado Army National Guard.
Also, over the years, she continued her military education culminating with graduation from the U.S. Army War College.
During her military career, she has served in several operational missions. In 2000, she deployed with the 220th Military Police Company to Hungary and Croatia in support of Operation Joint Forge. In 2001, her unit (220th MP) was mobilized to support the airport security mission at Denver International Airport after the 9-11 attacks. In 2002, her unit (220th MP) provided security at the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Over the years, her duties have taken her to multiple wildland fire disasters to include the Coal Seam, Hayman, High Park, Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires.
Rogers’ military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Army Reserve Component Medal with one silver and three bronze oak leaf clusters, the National Defense Service Medal with one bronze star, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with one gold hour glass and M device, the Army Service Ribbon, The Overseas Service Ribbon, the Army Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the German Armed Forces Military Efficiency Badge (bronze) and numerous State awards.
In her civilian life, Rogers has been employed with the Poudre Fire Authority in Fort Collins for 27 years as a firefighter, driver-operator, emergency medical technician and a station captain. She lives on a ranch in western Logan County with her husband, Dave Donaldson, a former Logan County commissioner. They raise cattle and have horses and mules.
During the ceremonies Saturday Brig. Gen. Rogers said she is honored to receive the promotion but she is, at the same time, humbled by receiving it. She wants to serve her country, her state and, most of all, the soldiers that she is responsible for. Her leadership philosophy is reflected in a single quote of hers, “It is the soldiers that do the work and get the job done. My job is to support the soldiers and ensure that they have the training and equipment needed to do their jobs. The Colorado Army National Guard is a fabulous group of individuals that have the ability to come together as a team and, as a result, get the job done.”
The ceremonies Saturday were rich in the symbolism of both Brig. Gen. Rogers’ new rank and her command position.
- The general’s flag gives rise to the term “flag officer,” although that’s not an official title for non-naval officers. In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, the term “flag officer” generally is applied to all general officers authorized to fly their own command flags—i.e., brigadier general, or pay grade O-7, and above.
- The general’s pistol, a Baretta M9 9mm sidearm, is a tradition that dates to Generals Eisenhower, Bradley and Patton in World War II. The general will be allowed to purchase the pistol when she retires.
- The belt is a particularly rugged leather belt with a gold buckle. A badge of office, it represents the strong belt needed to carry the general’s sidearm.