By Staff Sgt. Denis B. Ricou
Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office
NEW ORLEANS – Surrounded by friends, family and colleagues, the Louisiana National Guard promoted Michael Kazmierzak, of Covington, Louisiana, to the rank of colonel at the Louisiana National Guard’s Military History and Weapons Museum, located on Historic Jackson Barracks in New Orleans, Jan. 8.
“The opportunity to serve has been my dream since I was a little boy,” said Kazmierzak. “I am beyond honored to wear this new rank.”
Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, Kazmierzak holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Building Construction Technology from Purdue University and a Masters of Business Administration from Norwich University. He is a Distinguished Military Graduate from Purdue University Army ROTC, and was commissioned as an active duty 2nd Lieutenant Infantry Officer in 1992.
His assignments include the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea, the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, the 7th Army Training Command in Germany, the Indiana National Guard, the Texas National Guard, and the Louisiana National Guard. He also worked as an Assistant Professor of Military Science at Tulane University Army ROTC.
In 2004 after being mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom III, he served as an Infantry Company Commander and performed combat operations in Al Taji and Baghdad, Iraq. While on patrol in Baghdad, he was severely wounded by a car bomb. Due to those injuries, there was a big push by doctors to medically retire Kazmierzak, who refused to leave the Army.
“Mike is the guy that I always think of when I have to make hard decisions … because he never complained,” said Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, adjutant general of the LANG. “He fought his way against everyone to stay in this uniform.”
“I thank you for your fighting spirit and your willingness to continue to serve with us,” said Curtis.
Following his recovery in 2005 at Walter Reed Hospital, he returned to active duty where he continues to serve full-time in the Louisiana National Guard. In 2010, he deployed to Haiti as the Deputy Task Force Commander for a New Horizons mission, providing construction and medical support following the devastating earthquake.
He has served in positions including Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, Battalion S3-Air Operations Officer, Battalion S4 Logistics Officer, a Training Branch Chief, Liaison Officer, Company Commander, Secretary of the General Staff, Battalion Commander, Public Affairs Officer and is currently serving as the Louisiana National Guard’s J-5 Strategic Plans Officer.
Kazmierzak’s military schools and education include the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Airborne School, Mountain Warfare School, Air Assault School, Ranger School, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, the Command & General Staff College (ILE) and is currently enrolled in the US Army War College.
His awards include two Meritorious Service Medals, two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Iraqi Campaign Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
“Everybody here has touched my life either personally and/or professionally. I have always tried to learn from those experiences along the way,” said Kazmierzak. “Good or bad, I think it’s those experiences that make us who we are.”
Colonel Michael Kazmierzak resides with his family in Covington, Louisiana. He is married to the former Emily Shea Burke of New Orleans. They have two daughters and a son, Hannah, Clara and Henry.