By Sgt. Greg Stevens and Spc. Noshoba Davis, 256th IBCT Public Affairs Representatives
CAMP BEAUREGARD, La. – The Louisiana National Guard’s 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team welcomed Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick L. Sandel, Jr., as its new senior enlisted advisor during an official Change of Responsibility ceremony on the parade field at Camp Beauregard, Pineville, La., Nov. 15.
The Change of Responsibility is an event rich in symbolism and heritage. The ceremony focuses on the changing of positions between the outgoing and incoming sergeants major by the transferring of colors.
Sandel, of Ball, La., replaced Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis J. Sapp of Pineville, who has been promoted to the Command Sergeant Major of the Louisiana Army National Guard.
Sapp said he believes Sandel will focus a lot of attention where missions are carried out – at the squad leader level.
“He has the energy, a plethora of knowledge related to what’s going on, and I know he’s going to go out and make things happen,” said Sapp.
A graduate of Deridder High School in Deridder, La., Sandel enlisted into the LANG in 1990 as a Bradley fighting vehicle infantryman. His career took him through the ranks in the 256th that included a deployment to Fort Hood, Texas, in support of Operation Desert Storm in 1990 with Delta Company, 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, as well both 256th deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005 and again in 2010 as the command sergeant major of the 256th Brigade Special Troops Battalion.
“We are going to lead by example, lead from the front. We’ll make sure they are a ready trained force that is able to respond to a state mission at 100 percent capacity. The family members and the Soldiers of the 256 are what drives everything that we do,” said Sandel.
During the ceremony, Col. Keith K. Waddell, 256th IBCT commander, passed the organizational colors from the outgoing command sergeant major to the incoming command sergeant major, signifying the transfer of leadership over the unit.
“Command Sgt. Maj. Sapp is going to have the opportunity to move on up to the state level and do great things. Sandel has all the things you need to be successful. His leadership ability, selfless service and work ethic is of the highest order. He is one of the elite sergeants major in the state of Louisiana,” said Waddell.
Concluding his first address to his newly acquired Soldiers and leaders, Sandel said, “Strap up your bootlaces because here I come.”
Sandel is married to the former Larissa Jackson of Deridder, La., and together they have five children: Mercedez, Taylor, Collin, Demi and Marty, and three grandchildren: Greyson, Grady and Grahm.