Michael Laird of Greybull became the newest command sergeant major in the Wyoming Army National Guard after a series of movements among some of the senior ranking enlisted soldiers in the state.
The moves provide new opportunities for full time and traditional National Guardsmen to serve Wyoming’s soldiers.
Laird was promoted from sergeant major to command sergeant major, identifying his responsibility for soldiers in a particular command. His responsibility came after he was transferred from the state’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion, based in Cheyenne, to the 2nd Battalion, 300th Field Artillery, based in Sheridan.
“Command Sgt. Maj. Laird is the right soldier at the right time to guide our state’s only artillery battalion,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Allan, Wyoming’s state command sergeant major. “As sergeants major, we have a responsibility to guide our officers and our enlisted forces with the knowledge and experience accumulated over careers spanning decades.”
Laird takes over for Command Sgt. Maj. Harold Pafford of Cheyenne, who assumed responsibility for the 115th Fires Brigade, headquartered in Cheyenne. Pafford replaced Command Sgt. Maj. Troy Guimond, of Cheyenne, who assumed responsibility for the Recruiting and Retention Battalion, headquartered in Cheyenne.
Laird said less than 1 percent of all the people who join the Army ever rise to the rank of command sergeant major.
“It’s the highest rank that I can carry as a noncommissioned officer,” he said. “To be able to work with and help train over 400 solders, and get them ready not only for conflicts around the globe but also for state missions that come about due to emergencies, is really the opportunity of a lifetime.
Laird was born in Iowa, but moved to Wyoming with his parents when he was in the sixth grade. He’s spent 40 years in the Big Horn Basin, graduating from Basin High School in 1984. He currently resides in Greybull, where he owns his own business, Laird Sanitation.
Laird said he was a junior in high school when he and a group of friends joined the Wyoming National Guard. He has served the Guard faithfully for nearly four decades, including a one-year tour in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Mike and his wife Andrea have two children. Brendon, 17, is a sophomore at Greybull High School, while daughter Brianna works in Sheridan.
He said he never imagined he’d climb to the rank of command sergeant major. “My goal was to be a first sergeant, to be in charge of a battery of soldiers, which is about 70 soldiers,” he said. “Now I’m in charge of 400. It’s quite an accomplishment, but the most important thing is being able to help train all these guys and work with them.”