Lafayette, LA (KPLC) - The Louisiana Army National Guard's 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team welcomed its new commander, Col. Keith Waddell, at an official change of command ceremony at Cajun Field in Lafayette on Sunday.
According to a news release from the National Guard, Waddell, a Lake Charles resident, has had many previous military assignments, most recently as the 769th Engineer Battalion commander and then the 139th Regional Support Group commander.
Guard officials said that Waddell mobilized and served as Battalion Commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom in Multinational Division-Baghdad. He also served as commander during Operations Katrina and Rita.
Waddell, a graduate of Catholic High School of Pointe Coupee in New Roads, assumed command of the 256th IBCT from the outgoing commander, Col. Jacques Thibodeaux.
"Col. Thibodeaux and his team that he's had assembled here have done a phenomenal job, and it's going to be hard for us to take it to the next level because the standard is so high," said Waddell.
Thibodeaux, a Baton Rouge native, has been a member of the 256th IBCT for twenty of his twenty-nine years in the Louisiana National Guard. He has worked his way up from an enlisted Soldier all the way to brigade commander. Thibodeaux became the commander in April 2011.
"For me, it's just great to be with the 256th Soldiers. That's what I love the most, being around the soldiers," Thibodeaux said.
Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, adjutant general of the LANG, presented Waddell with the brigade colors.
"Today is one of the best moments of my life ... I'm very thankful to Maj. Gen. Curtis to give me this opportunity and very humbled to have it," Waddell said.