New commander for Mountain Warriors

Story by Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs 

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Command Sgt. Maj. Chris Morgan presents the battalion guidon to Lt. Col. Bryan Howay during a change of command ceremony in Artemus, Ky., Nov. 11, 2012. Maj. Jeff Cole assumed command of the 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry from Howay. (Photo courtesy of 1/149th IN)

ARTEMUS, Ky. — The Kentucky National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry welcomed its new commander during a change of command ceremony at the Harold L. Disney Training Center in Artemus, Ky., Nov. 11, 2012.

On a sun-filled day in Southeastern Kentucky, the Soldiers of the 1/149th, known as the Mountain Warriors, stood in formation with their company colors. They watched as the battalion guidon was passed from Lt. Col. Bryan Howay to Maj. Jeff Cole.  The commander of the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Col. Mike Abell, along with numerous friends and family members were in attendance witnesses the exchange.

“I am both honored and humbled to be the new commander of the Mountain Warriors,” said Cole. “This battalion has a long history of significant achievements. In the decade since 9/11, we’ve been deployed three times, including twice to Iraq.”

Howay commanded the 1/149th since May, 2010, including the unit’s last deployment to Iraq as one of the last units to leave the country in 2011. He will assume the role of Deputy Commander of the 149th MEB.

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The Color Guard of the 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry stands ready in the front of the battalion formation during a change of command ceremony in Artemus, Ky., Nov. 11, 2012. (Photo courtesy of 1/149th IN)

The Mountain Warriors comprise the largest battalion in the Kentucky Guard, consisting of more than 800 Soldiers in 6 companies. The unit operates out of seven armories all located in Eastern Kentucky.

Cole and Command Sgt. Maj. Chris Morgan will be charged with continuing the traditions of the last combat arms unit in the Kentucky Guard.

“Our Soldiers are among the best and have proven themselves time and time again,” said Cole.  “So, to be allowed to lead this group of Soldiers for a short time is an incredible privilege.  My goal is for us to continue this long legacy of serving our Country and Commonwealth with excellence.”

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