CAMP GUERNSEY JOINT TRAINING CENTER – Whether joining or leaving service in the Wyoming Military Department, everyone has encountered one of the recruiters from the Recruiting and Retention Battalion of the Wyoming Army National Guard. They are responsible for filling the units around the state, to jobs ranging from infantry to computer specialists.
During a change of command ceremony at the 213th Regional Training Institute on April 11, in Guernsey, the battalion said farewell to their commander and welcomed a new one. Outgoing commander Lt. Col. Mike Pezeshki passed the leadership of the unit on to Maj. Lara Taylor. Taylor will now carry the task of overseeing the battalion’s 44 recruiters as well as all the recruits that come through the unit during her command.
While this new command will bring its challenges, Taylor, who previously served as the executive officer for the battalion, will draw on her 16 years with the Wyoming Guard to overcome those challenges. She is also a 21 year veteran.
“With the foundation created by Lt. Col. Pezeshki, we’re going to be in a very strong position going forward,” Taylor explained.
The battalion will lean on Taylor’s experience as students get back to school and the recruiters get back in the communities now that COVID-19 restrictions are starting to lift. The battalion will also continue to train and prepare recruits for their upcoming school dates with the Recruit Sustainment Program.
The battalion also fulfills the important duty at the military department to meet the demands the state by working to ensure it has the appropriate number of soldiers to complete the missions assigned.
During the three years that Pezeshki was battalion commander, the state saw more recruits under his charge, resulting in more soldiers serving the state overall. These new recruits will spend their time learning the skills necessary to succeed at their initial military schooling. Upon their return they will begin their career with their selected units. Before his command, the battalion would manage approximately 150 new soldiers per year. That number is up to approximately 220 soldiers today.
While excited for his future, leaving the unit was very bittersweet for Pezeshki.
“It’s the best command I ever had,” he said. “I didn’t want to leave.”
Pezeshki will continue to serve the Wyoming Guard by attending the Navy War College in Newport, Rhode Island before going on to serve as a staff officer for the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Va.
With over 35 years of service between Pezeshki and Taylor, the battalion will be in good hands for years to come.