The National Training Center and Fort Irwin welcomed Lt. Col. Fernando Guadalupe Jr., as the new commander for 2916th Aviation Battalion, 916th Support Brigade, during a change of command ceremony, Sept. 19.
The Army helicopter pilot and combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom was handed the unit’s guideon by the 916th Commander, Col. Jim Kazmierczak. Relinquishing command of the battalion was Lt. Col. Hike Welling.
The battalion, known as Raptors, provides the NTC training mission with an air, enemy threat on simulated battlegrounds. The unit also provides air ambulance support to the training mission and the Fort Irwin community.
In his comments to the audience attending the ceremony, Guadalupe gave thanks for the opportunity, privilege and trust to command the battalion and serve the Soldiers and civilians in the 916th and NTC.
“Soldiers, Civilians, and Families of the 2916th Aviation Battalion … words cannot express how honored and humbled I am to stand before you and how privileged I am to join your ranks and serve you as your commander,” Guadalupe said.
Guadalupe acknowledged the service of the Soldiers in the Raptor battalion.
“In all that you do, take pride in the awesome responsibility and privilege that we are entrusted with as the stewards and guardians of the legacy of the 2916th Aviation Battalion,” Guadalupe said.
Originally from Santurce, Puerto Rico, Guadalupe was raised in Atlanta. He graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. His military education includes: Aviation Officer Basic Course; Aviation Officer Advanced Course; UH-60 helicopter Maintenance Test Pilot Course; UH-60 Instructor Pilot Course; Command and General Staff College, and; School of Advanced Military Studies with a master’s degree in Military Arts and Science.
Previous assignments of Guadalupe include: platoon leader and executive officer with 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Infantry Division at Wheeler Army Airfield in Hawaii; commander of B Company, 3rd Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade during OIF I, and; operations officer and executive officer with 3rd Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas.
Guadalupe’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (3rd award), the Meritorious Service Medal (4th award) and the Air Medal (with a valor device).
He is married to the former Ivette Marte of the Dominican Republic. They have two children, their daughter Sabrina, and son, Fernando III.