Guam – Delfin takes command of 1st-294th Infantry Regiment Less than a year after a historic Operation Enduring Freedom deployment, the Guam Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment changed leadership June 7 at its main headquarters.
Lt. Col. Romeo Delfin takes helm of the Guam Guard’s largest element, replacing Lt. Col. Michael Tougher, who commanded nearly 600 troops in Afghanistan throughout 2013. This marked the largest deployment in Guam history, a mission that concluded just six months ago.
“My biggest feeling today is how humbled I am to be serving with these fine Soldiers who left their families on numerous occasions and numerous deployments,” Delfin said. “Our main priority is something called Reset. This is to get Soldiers and equipment ready in the event we get called again by our president and governor.”
[Lt. Col. Romeo Delfin, takes command of the 1-294 IN REGT, as he receives the Battalion’s Guidon from Maj. Gen. Benny M. Paulino. (Released: Photo by Maj. Josephine Blas, Public Affairs Officer, Guam National Guard).]
Delfin relinquishes his latest command of Recruiting and Retention. He served as 294th executive officer before Tougher’s leadership and before the battalion’s OEF mission.
Tougher will soon head to the U.S. Army War College, reporting to the Stanford University Hoover Institution as a National Security Affairs Fellow. In his somber farewell speech to troops he commanded for three years, Tougher thanked several Soldiers who directly supported his leadership, but voiced significant appreciation to his spouse, Wendy, for her support and contribution.
“I can name so many people that I am indebted as a leader. I send a special thank you to all who have contributed their time and efforts to enhance our organization,” Tougher said. “I’m deeply grateful to my wife. I would probably be …. wasting days at home if she did not give me the purpose, motivation and direction to see beyond my small world.”
[Maj. Gen. Benny M. Paulino, The Adjutant General of the Guam National Guard (right) and Lt. Col. Michael A. Tougher, outgoing commander, 1-294 IN REGT are led on an inspection of the troops by Maj. Rickey Flores, Executive Officer, 1-294 IN REGT. (Released: Photo by Maj. Josephine Blas, Public Affairs Officer, Guam National Guard).]
Tougher was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his tenure as battalion commander starting July 10, 2011. In his reign, he led the battalion to two annual trainings at Camp Roberts, Calif., for OEF train up. His leadership was challenged when the battalion dispersed into 15 locations in Afghanistan, yet successfully accomplished more than 12,000 missions and trekked above 105,000 miles through tough, dangerous roads.
Tougher’s military career began in 1986 when he enlisted in the Guam Guard as an aircraft armament technician. He sought a career as an officer and in 1991, Tougher graduated from Officer Candidate School. He later accepted his commission as a second lieutenant in the 294th, starting as a platoon leader.
Delfin accepts the challenge as the battalion’s new leader but knows he has a tough road ahead.
“I’m confident (to lead the battalion), but I am humbled. I’m extremely confident because we have great Soldiers. I guide the ship, but if you don’t have a strong engine … you can have the best leadership in the world but it doesn’t matter. We have such a great group of Soldiers, competent noncommissioned officers, and extremely competent officers. I’m confident this battalion will go to another level.”
[Mrs. Wendy Tougher, far right, is looking at the red roses she received in appreciation for the support she provided her spouse, Lt. Col. Tougher, during his tenure as commander, as especially throughout TF Guam’s deployment. Mrs. Maria Delfin, incoming spouse of Lt. Col. Romeo Delfin, received yellow roses. Also pictured are the Tougher’s children, Michael, Lani and Quincy. (Released: Photo by Maj. Josephine Blas, Public Affairs Officer, Guam National Guard).]