First African-American commander takes over Georgia National Guard’s 48th Infantry Brigade

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)- Georgia National Guard’s 48th Infantry Brigade is celebrating a new change of command and making history as Colonel Reginald Neal becomes its first African-American commander.

Neal started his military career 26 years ago and has moved up military ranks.

“If I can make it to be a Brigade Commander and a Colonel, anybody can do it,” Commander Reginald Neal says.

He says earlier in his career, someone told him that he would never become the brigade’s commander because he was African-American. That, he says, pushed him toward his goal.    

“Not to say that I worked just to command the brigade, but I worked to be the best that I could be and I was going to make it extremely difficult for anybody to not provide me an opportunity,” Neal tells us.

Former Commander Randall Simmons was also honored and congratulated for his new position as chief of staff for the Georgia Army National Guard.

He says he has full faith in Neal. 

“He is well suited, very experienced, well educated, and he is the right guy at this time to lead the brigade forward,” Simmons says.

One of Neal’s main responsibilities is to lead more than 3,000 men and women.

“48th Brigade will be ready,” Neal says. “We were ready in 1994 during the floods when it came. We were ready when we went to Iraq. We were ready when we went to Afghanistan, and we will be ready tomorrow.”

Categories: Bibb County, Local News

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