In December, Indiana National Guard Brig. Gen. R. Dale Lyles, the adjutant general, selected a 38th Infantry Division Soldier as the top warrant officer in the state.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Ronald L. Baird Jr., the division's senior maintenance officer, will become Indiana's command chief warrant officer following his deployment supporting Task Force Spartan in the Middle East.
"I look forward to continuing to uphold the fine traditions of-and build the ranks and strength of-the warrant officer cohort," said Baird of Scottsburg.
Baird will be Indiana's fourth command chief warrant officer, a position that advises the adjutant general on matters concerning the warrant officer cohort, which numbers approximately 200 soldiers in the Hoosier State.
"I'm excited and grateful for this opportunity to serve as the command chief warrant officer for the Indiana National Guard," said Baird. "I would like to thank Brig. Gen. Lyles for his confidence and trust in me to serve as his senior warrant officer adviser."
Baird now serves as one of more than 600 National Guard soldiers who departed Indiana in May, and he helps support the U.S. Army Central, 38th-led task force that strengthens defense relationships, builds partner capacity and deters regional aggression in southwest Asia.
Baird's specific role within the 38th Infantry Division logistics section keeps nearly 10,000 Spartan troops ready to roll in a moment's notice in various Army vehicles from Humvees to trucks to tanks.
"We track and monitor maintenance and supply for Task Force Spartan, while reducing or eliminating barriers for our units," said Baird.
The Louisville, Kentucky-born, resident of southern Indiana joined the military in April 1987 through the 38th Infantry Division's 1st Battalion, 151st Infantry Regiment headquartered in New Albany.
"I wanted serve my state and country," said Baird. "I knew at a young age that I wanted to be in the military, and I enjoyed being a mechanic, so I was able to fill both those desires by joining the Indiana National Guard."
Within several years, Baird parlayed his part-time gig of two weeks per year and a weekend per month into a reliable career.
"The last 25 years I've been a full-time federal technician as a mechanic or maintenance supervisor for the Indiana National Guard," said Baird.
During Baird's nearly 33-year military career he's seen many benefits for himself and family from wearing the uniform of the nation.
"Belonging to the Indiana National Guard has benefited my family and me with great opportunities to include kid's camps, social events, travel and even college assistance," said Baird. "The Indiana National Guard is part of my family and my immediate family has embraced the National Guard."
Baird became a warrant officer in February 2002 at Fort Rucker, Alabama, after nearly 15 years of serving as an enlisted Soldier.
"I decided to become a warrant officer to challenge myself and to serve as a subject-matter expert in the maintenance field by providing technical knowledge to junior soldiers, staff and commanders," said Baird.
Proven leadership and the ability to rise to a challenge are two qualities that the adjutant general saw in Baird during the selection process.
"CW4 Baird is a strong leader within our warrant officer cohort and is known for going above and beyond his assigned duties," said Lyles in a press statement. "His actions throughout his career have earned him the respect of leaders at all levels across our organization. I have total confidence that his ability to lead and exemplary problem solving skills will make him a welcome addition to the Indiana National Guard command team."
For at least a few more months, Indiana will have to wait until Baird's Spartan mission comes to a close. But even as one mission ends, Baird is ready to face a new challenge.