Skyline High School’s principal is now the commander of the 1st Battalion of the Idaho Army National Guard 148th Field Artillery Regiment.
Maj. Aaron Jarnagin, who has served in the National Guard for 18 years as of this month, took over from outgoing commander Lt. Col. George Hansen on March 3, according to a news release from the National Guard.
Jarnagin is in his fourth year as Skyline’s principal.
“The school district has been great and totally understanding of my military duties and responsibilities,” he said. “They’ve just been great to work with and very supportive. It’s good to have that support from an employer like that.”
The Guard unit, which prepares combat-ready forces capable of deploying around the world as well as being ready to respond to state and local emergencies, is part of the Idaho Army National Guard’s 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team and has units in Blackfoot, Burley, Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Preston, Rexburg, Rigby and St. Anthony. Jarnagin was the unit’s executive officer before.
“I am very excited to take command of the 1-148th Field Artillery Regiment,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to working with and taking care of the soldiers as we go into busy training years with an eXportable Combat Training Capability and National Training Center Exercise.”
Jarnagin enlisted in 2000 as a fire direction center team member. He completed officer candidate school in 2002 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant, assigned as a fire support officer to the Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Brigade and deployed to Kirkuk, Iraq, where his primary duties included reconstruction project management and linguistic management.
Jarnagin came back to the U.S. in 2005, serving as a platoon leader for the Bravo Battery in St. Anthony, then as logistics officer for the 1st Battalion of the 148th Field Artillery starting in 2006. He deployed to Iraq again in 2010, this time as the commander of the Rexburg-based Bravo Battery “Bandits.”
In his new role, Jarnagin said he is “responsible for the overall readiness and training and welfare of all the soldiers” in the battalion. He said the length of a command can vary, but he expects it to be about two or three years.
The regiment participated in numerous successful training exercises under Hansen’s command and underwent a reorganization in 2016 that added an additional firing battery to the battalion. It took part in Keris Strike 2017 in August 2017 in Pahang, Malaysia, a 10-day exercise between U.S. and Malaysian forces led by the U.S. Army-Pacific Command.
“It truly has been my highest honor as a soldier to serve with and lead such a fine regiment,” said Hansen, the outgoing commander who is from the Blackfoot area. “I was frequently inspired by the dedication and hard work of the soldiers within the organization.”