Waddell named to top post of National Guard

John Dupont

A Westbank resident will take over the top post in the Louisiana National Guard.

Brigadier Gen. Keith Wadell, a native of New Roads, will become the state's top National Guard official, Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a press conference Monday.

He will replace Maj. Gen. Glenn Curtis, who had served in that post since 2011. He was appointed by Gov. Bobby Jindal and reappointed by Gov. Edwards when he took office in 2016.

The head of Louisiana's National Guard, Maj. Gen. Glenn Curtis, is retiring from his post and will be succeeded by a top Guard official, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Monday. 

Wadell, an assistant principal at Westlake High School, will take office Jan. 10, three days before Edwards takes the oath for his second term as governor.

He currently serves as assistant adjutant general of the Louisiana National Guard.

Waddell, a New Roads native and 25-year veteran of the Louisiana National Guard, serves as the principal military advisor to the adjutant general of the state of Louisiana.

He is responsible for assisting in the deployment and coordination of programs, policies and plans for the Louisiana Army and Air National Guard.

Waddell graduated from LSU in 1990 with a bachelor of science degree in physical education and general studies.

He also received his commission as an Army officer through the ROTC program.

He received a master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College in 2012 and is working on his master of science degree in homeland security from Northwestern State University.

The Lake Charles resident, a certified teacher and administrator, is an assistant principal at Westlake High School.

In his 18-year coaching career, he was named Louisiana High School Coach of the Year in 2005 in basketball and in 2003 in baseball.

Married to the former Lisa Doga, he is the father of three and grandfather of three.

Waddell served as an engineer battalion commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Multinational Division-Baghdad.

The unit carried out construction operations in support of the 1st Calvary Division and 4th Infantry Division, building combat outposts, joint security stations, road repair and battalion support operations.

The unit was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation for its service.

Upon receiving his commission at LSU, Waddell served on active duty at Fort Polk for four years with assignments platoon leader, 7th Engineer Battalion; platoon leader and executive officer, 814th Engineer Co.; and assistant S-3 provisional battalion and S-2, 46th Engineer Battalion.

His National Guard assignments include liaison officer, 225th Engineer Group; company commander, HHC 225th Engineer Group; company commander, Bravo Co.,1088th Engineer Battalion; S-1, 225th Engineer Group; and S-3, 528th Engineer Battalion.

Also, battalion commander, 769th Engineer Battalion; deputy commander and group commander, 139th Regional Support Group; brigade commander, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team; and joint military support for Louisiana.

Waddell's awards and honors include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with six oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Louisiana Legion of Merit, Louisiana War Cross and Parachutist Badge.

He is the recipient of the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award, Louisiana National Guard Outstanding Company Commander of the Year Award, Brig. Gen. Edmund J. Giering Outstanding Company Commander in the Engineer Regiment, Bronze de Fleury Medal and Order of St. Maurice (Legionnaire).   

Waddell's military training includes Engineer Officer Basic and Advanced courses, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, Engineer Pre-Command Course, Support Operations Course, Joint Task Force Commander’s Orientation Course, U.S. Army War College, Leadership in Homeland Security at the Harvard-Kennedy School of Government, Airborne and Northern Warfare Orientation Course.