By Jess Kelsey
Oklahoma Army National Guard’s 45th Field Artillery Brigade welcomed incoming commander, Col. Elmer Holt, and bid farewell to outgoing commander, Col. Greg Lankford, during a change of command ceremony Sunday at the Mustang Armed Forces Reserve Center.
Brigadier General Michael Thompson served as the guest speaker for the ceremony, and the wives and families of both Holt and Lankford were also honored during the event.
“I must say congratulations on an incredibly successful command by Col. Lankford, and I’m really proud of our friend Col. Holt to have a chance to lead this fine organization,” said Thompson.
Holt, of Mannford, Oklahoma, assumes this new command after more than 27 years of service with the Oklahoma Army National Guard. He is a veteran of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and has held numerous positions at company, battalion and brigade level with his most recent position as the Chief of Staff at the Joint Multinational Training Group – Ukraine.
Holt enlisted in the US Army Reserves in December of 1985 in Norman, Oklahoma as an Aircraft Power Plant Repairman. He has been awarded numerous honors including the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Metal and the Oklahoma Long Service Ribbon to name a few. He is married to the former Angela Stroup and has two children, Jordan and Ashlei, and two grandchildren, Hayden and Lincoln.
“I have to recognize the outgoing commander, Col. Greg Lankford, for his hard work and dedication to this brigade,” said Holt. “I appreciate the fact that he has gone above and beyond to help make this transition as smooth as possible, and I certainly appreciate the opportunity today to take command of the unit that is excellent condition.”
Holt said it is a privilege to serve alongside those in the brigade and he cannot express how proud and honored he is to be the new commander.
Lankford has served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard since 1984 and is a veteran of Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. He commanded the 1st Battalion, 158th Field Artillery Regiment “during their deployment to Camp Ramadi, Iraq where his battalion controlled base defense, and provided security for Provincial Reconstruction Teams,” according to the Oklahoma National Guard.
Lankford is a member of the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara and has also received numerous honors including the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and many other federal and state awards. He is married to the former Carla Zafra of Manila, Philippines and has four children, Mileena, Collin, Noah and Ian.
“It’s an absolute honor to have had this opportunity to serve as your commander,” said Lankford. “It’s unbelievable what this unit has accomplished during my time here.”
Calling it an “incredible journey,” Lankford said “the brigade will always be in my heart.”