Lt. Col. Nathan Bennington has taken the reins of the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 426th Regiment, a regional training institute, during a formal change of command ceremony Oct. 14.
Bennington succeeds Col. Paul Gapinski, who soon will take command of the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB) headquartered in Milwaukee.
Brig. Gen. Matthew Strub, Wisconsin’s deputy adjutant general for Army, noted that the 426th Regiment had a full slate of events that day — a hall of fame induction, a commissioning ceremony for officers and warrant officers, and the change of command ceremony.
“We’ve nicknamed today ‘426 Day,’” Strub said to regiment members assembled for the change of command ceremony. “A series of events, ceremonies and celebrations that showcases what you do each and every day.”
The 426th Regiment provides quality instruction to produce agile, adaptive students of character and competence — committed to the Army profession and prepared to lead Soldiers to win in a complex world. The regiment includes an accredited field artillery training program, officer and warrant officer candidate schools, military resilience courses and more.
“It wasn’t too long ago that we put you in command of this organization, and the regiment needed your leadership,” Strub said to Gapinski. “And you gave it your all in a challenging time. I need Paul’s leadership at the 157th MEB — you’re the right officer for that organization, and you were the right officer for this organization. You made it better, and you’re leaving it in good hands now.”
Still, Strub warned Bennington that challenges lay ahead.
“The world is a dangerous place, and it takes the commitment of a leader to get it done,” Strub said. “I am confident that you have what it takes, and that this organization will rise to the occasion, so welcome aboard.”
Bennington is no stranger to command, having most recently led the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 120th Field Artillery, part of the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Gapinski acknowledged that his time leading the 426th was short.
“We’ve had a lot of accomplishments during that time,” Gapinski said. “The 426th’s history is rich, and I’m glad to be a part of it. To our credit and my eternal thanks, the work here during my command time, and while serving as the deputy commanding officer prior to that, has been rewarding and worthwhile.”
Bennington said that people would remain at the forefront of his leadership philosophy.
“To the Soldiers of the 426th Regiment, I have one focus as your new commander,” Bennington said, “enhancing our students’ leadership and warfighting capabilities. Our job remains the same — to ensure every Soldier coming though this institution is prepared to meet the enemy on the battlefield. So much is at stake for our nation and the world. We will meet this challenge together. Leadership starts here.”