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La. Guard Soldiers embody spirit of Black History Month

By Capt. Peter Drasutis, Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office

NEW ORLEANS – During Black History Month, the Louisiana National Guard spotlights the accomplishments and dedication of African American service members within its ranks throughout February.

Louisiana has been pivotal in Black History, from its influential role in the evolution of jazz to its historical significance in the Civil Rights Movement. For the Black Soldiers of New Orleans’s 1st Battalion, 141st Field Artillery Regiment, the legacy of their city and unit in context of the African American experience offers a unique perspective, underscoring the importance of this month’s observance.

While many Black Soldiers of the 1-141st FA BN are native New Orleanians who share a cultural heritage, each is an individual with distinct ambitions and reasons for enlisting in the Louisiana National Guard. Whether an officer or enlisted, they are bound together by a shared motivation—a profound sense of duty and commitment to their fellow Soldiers.

Spc. Gregory Gaudin, a cannon crew member with the 1-141st, credits the educational and vocational opportunities of enlistment, as well as his grandfather’s service during the Korean War, as his motivations for joining the LANG. 

Regarding February’s observance, Gaudin stated, “Black History Month represents the pride that the African American community shares in the challenges we have overcome throughout our history, and it should serve as a reminder to remain resilient and positive in the face of the adversities that we all face in life. As a Guardsman, I strive to serve as an example of professionalism and excellence for the African American community.”

Of the 528 Soldiers that comprise the 1-141st FA BN, 230 identify as African American and are represented across every Military Occupational Specialty and tier of leadership within the battalion.

Since her earliest memories, Sgt. Tamisha Isidore, fire direction chief with the 1-141st, aspired to be part of the esteemed one percent of citizens that serve in the United States Armed Forces. 

Isidore hails from a long line of dedicated service members and expressed that, “My ancestors fought to ensure that I would enjoy the basic human rights and opportunities afforded to every citizen in our country. I take pride in continuing their legacy of inclusivity by being among the first generation of female Soldiers to serve in a combat arms MOS.” 

For African American Soldiers like Maj. Michael Lacoste, who occupies the roles of executive officer and administrative officer of the 141st FA BN, the LANG and its artillery battalion represent a lifelong career marked. In 1997, Lacoste initially served as an enlisted Soldier, and achieved the rank of staff sergeant in the role of howitzer section chief. In 2004, Lacoste accepted a direct commission and joined the battalion’s officer corps as it mobilized in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

During his 26 years of service with the LANG, Lacoste has occupied several roles of responsibility and trust to include serving as the Traditional Commanders Activities Coordinator for USSOUTHCOM at the United States Security Cooperation office, Port-au-Prince, Haiti and Aide-de-Camp to Maj. Gen. Glenn Curtis, former adjutant general of Louisiana.

In 2018, Lacoste returned to the 141st where he served in various battalion staff roles before assuming his current senior leadership position. 

Regarding the significance of Black History Month and how it pertains to him as an African American Soldier serving in a historically rich unit, Lacoste stated, “Black History Month is the observance of our community and the great contributions and achievements by African Americans that exhibit excellence in innovation and leadership. We are all torch bearers for our ancestors and through resilience and persistence, we will continue to inspire for generations to come. As an African American guardsman in the Washington Artillery, I embrace our past and am excited for our future.”

In the commemoration of Black History Month, the ideals of resilience, courage and cultural pride are personified through the African American Soldiers of 1-141st. Their dedication and service stand as a testament to the enduring legacy of African Americans who have played pivotal roles in shaping the Nation’s history, showcasing the importance of recognizing and honoring their contributions within the broader narrative of American history during this significant month of remembrance and celebration.


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