Col. Cindy Haygood, of Gonzales, took command of the Louisiana Army National Guard’s 225th Engineer Brigade from Col. Rodney Painting, of Amite, on June 4 at an official ceremony at Esler Air Field in Pineville.

Haygood is the first woman to command the 225th and the first woman to lead a second direct-reporting unit, according to a news release.

Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, adjutant general of the guard, presented the Legion of Merit to Painting for exceptional leadership as commander of the 225th for nearly four years.

Painting and Haygood began their military careers in the 225th in 1985.

Haygood is a 1991 graduate of LSU with a bachelor’s degree in economics. She and her husband, Bill, have two daughters, Madeline and Lauren.

Her awards and decorations include the Bronze Star; Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster; Army Commendation Medal; Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters; National Defense Medal 1 Bronze Star; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Armed Forces Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster; and Overseas Service Ribbon.

Haygood served during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Painting is a 1991 graduate of LSU with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education. He and his wife, Monica, have three daughters, Thea, Brendan and Kobi.

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star; Meritorious Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal; Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster; and Army Overseas Training Ribbon.

Painting has served in Afghanistan and also has been mobilized for deployments, state emergencies and stateside and international engineering projects.

The 225th is headquartered at Camp Beauregard in Pineville.