Faces of Change: Capt. Armond Gilmore
This month, KPLC is celebrating Black History Month with an exclusive series called “Faces of Change.”
All month long, we’ll be sharing the stories of those making changes - seen and unseen - who live and work right here in our own communities – all while celebrating the past, present and future of Black History in Southwest Louisiana.
Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Our series kicks off with Capt. Armond Gilmore, who’s answering the call of duty while showing courage in the face of adversity.
Captain Gilmore grew up in the small town of Minden - between Shreveport and Ruston.
“I was an only child,” Gilmore said. “My mom was a teacher. My dad worked in the trucking industry. I received my commission from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.”
Gilmore took command of HHC 3-156, the Lake Charles unit of the National Guard, in January 2020 - right as the pandemic was beginning.
“For two or three months into my command, I didn’t see any of my soldiers,” Gilmore said. “So, we were drilling via telecoms and Zooms. Later that year, as we were preparing to deploy, our community was devastated by two hurricanes within a short period of time.”
“That was the first time I’ve really ridden out a hurricane. Just to hear and feel the devastation around us,” Gilmore said. “I mean, our building ... one of the walls collapsed, and it was scary because there’s nothing you can do at that point. You’re just praying that the rest of the building doesn’t fall.”
The National Guardsmen under Gilmore’s command have been deployed to several different countries, including Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan and Syria.
“It has been an honor to be a Black commander in the Louisiana National Guard,” Gilmore said. “When you look at the guard organization as a whole, there’s a relatively small number of Black officers. So, to be asked to take command of this company speaks highly of the trust and respect my commanding officers have in me.”
“I believe having the role of commander, no matter if it’s at the company level or the brigade level, is a significant responsibility,” Gilmore said. “Being a commander, you’re responsible for the lives of all under your command and they look towards you - for not only mission guidance, but their families trust that you will keep them safe.”
“I hope other Black officers strive to work towards high leadership positions such as command, because Black representation is essential within the ranks, especially for the younger generation that’s interested in joining the military,” Gilmore said.
“I hope my years as the HHC commander has paved a way not only for black soldiers but all soldiers to strive to become better leaders of the National Guard,” Gilmore said.
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