By Staff Sgt. Noshoba Davis, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
ERBIL AIR BASE, Iraq – The Louisiana National Guard’s Headquarters and Headquarters Troop (HHT) and B Troop, 2nd Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team welcomed new commanders during official change of command ceremonies at Erbil Air Base on July 17.
Capt. Conrad Ostler relinquished command of HHT 2-108th IBCT to Capt. Zachary Neely. Capt. Jeff Davis relinquished command of B Troop, 2-108th to Ostler.
Lt. Col. Michael Poche, the squadron commander of 2-108th, stood before the Soldiers and gave praise to both Ostler and Davis for being great examples of what it means to be a leader and wished them well on their new endeavors.
“Conrad, congratulations on a successful command, truly amazing job…Your command encompassed COVID operations and six named storms just in the last year and multiple annual training events to preparing for deployment, mobilization to Fort Bliss, Texas, a deployment to CENTCOM and finally our mission here in support of Operation Inherent Resolve,” said Poche. “I can’t recall a more complex time in our history, but you calmly led the Troopers of HHT with grace bringing order out of chaos. Thank you for all you’ve done for HHT…I’m proud to be able to hand you the guidon for B Troop today.”
“Jeff, congratulations to both you and Megan on a successful command. Thank you for your leadership, 53 months in command is a long time and you assumed command of B Troop at a crucial transition point…Our Squadron would not have been successful without your dedication and efforts,” said Poche.
Ostler has commanded HHT for the past year. During that time, he mobilized with the company in response to Hurricane Laura in the Sstate of Louisiana and conducted two annual training periods prior to mobilizing in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
Davis has commanded B Troop since February 2017. During that time, he has participated in multiple brigade exercises to include rotations at eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) at Camp Shelby, Mississippi and the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, Louisiana. While in command, Davis and his first sergeant, 1st Sgt. Zaia, were recipients of the Armor and Cavalry Leadership Award for training year 2020. Before mobilizing in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Davis mobilized B Troop multiple times in 2020 in response to multiple natural disasters throughout the state of Louisiana and assisted with the COVID-19 response.
Both Ostler and Davis expressed thanks to the command for the opportunity to serve as a troop commander, and thanked the Troopers for their support while under their command.
“When I took over as commander I didn’t know what to expect. We dove straight into annual training followed by hurricane duty, then another annual training, mobilization and finally this deployment,” said Ostler. “I’ve learned a lot from the Troopers and that each section has its quirks. I’ll be taking this knowledge with me and using what I’ve learned with B Troop.”
“Thank you Col. Desormeaux, Col. McGee, Lt. Col. Cook, Lt. Col. Luebbert and Lt. Col. Poche for this opportunity to serve Louisiana as the commander of Reaper,” said Davis. “To the platoon leaders, platoon sergeants and your Troopers, thank you for never failing. You did everything I asked of you and never asked anything of your subordinates, you weren’t willing to do yourself…Please extend my immense gratitude to your families for their endless support and sacrifice.”
After the passing of the guidon signifying the end of Ostler and Davis’ command with each Troop, Poche stood before the Troopers and wished both Neely and Ostler well on their new endeavors.
“Zack, the Troopers of HHT make it a joy and I know you will cherish your time as a commander,” said Poche.
“Conrad, congratulations on assuming command of B Troop since you’ve spent time in the Troop I don’t have to tell you, but it bears repeat; B Troop is a phenomenal organization with the highest caliber Soldiers and NCOs. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you,” said Poche.
Neely, commissioned as an armor officer into the LANG through Louisiana’s Officer Candidate School (OCS) in 2012. Before assuming command of HHT, he was the plans officer for 256 IBCT and 2-108th. Neely has participated in multiple brigade exercises to include multiple rotations at JRTC at Fort Polk. He was activated in response to Hurricane Laura in 2020 before being activated in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
Ostler, commissioned into the LANG through Louisiana’s OCS in 2014. Before assuming command of B Troop, he held the positions of platoon leader, executive officer and battle captain for 2-108th. Ostler has participated in multiple brigade exercises to include a rotation at JRTC at Fort Polk.
“Lt. Col. Poche thank you for placing faith and trust in me for this opportunity to lead Warrior…Their professionalism and dedication to mission have always been evident and I’m proud to lead them as Warrior 6,” said Neely.
“Thank you Lt. Col. Poche for giving me this opportunity to come back to B Troop. I’m now back home, this is where I’ve spent most of my time. I’m excited to be able to have this experience with you guys and be able to see what you guys can do for me, and what I can do for you,” said Ostler.
In addition to being deployed overseas in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2010, the companies have been activated to support multiple emergency operations to include Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Harvey, Laura, running multiple COVID-19 test sites and multiple major flood events that ravaged Louisiana in 2016.