Brothers in Arms

185th Engineer Support Company changes hands

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Capt. Cole Richards and his wife Emily (L); Capt. Evan Richards and his wife, Hallie (R)

PRESQUE ISLE, MAINE (09/18/2023) (readMedia)-- In a Sept. 10 ceremony in front of family, friends, and fellow soldiers, Capt. Evan Richards handed over command of the 185th Engineer Support Company to his younger brother, Capt. Cole Richards.

"I am privileged and honored to turn command over to the most capable and strong leader I know – my brother," said Evan Richards in his remarks. "I will be forever grateful for what this unit has done for me...this unit is special, hardworking, and continues to earn its spot among the best in the National Guard and the Total Army."

The elder Richards' was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for his command tour, during which the 185th supported Operation Capital Response and the 59th Presidential Inauguration, mobilized soldiers to area hospitals during the height of the COVID pandemic, and moved from the former Caribou and Houlton armories to a new facility in Presque Isle. The 185th also performed construction operations in Maine's state partner nation of Montenegro and participated in community outreach Innovative Readiness Training projects in both nearby East Millinocket and not-so-nearby Kittery.

"I am thrilled and honored that I have been given this opportunity and I will give everything I have to ensure the soldiers of the 185th get the command leadership that they deserve," said the incoming commander. "I hope to continue on where the unit is headed, with my priorities being on safety, dynamic MOS training and high levels of readiness that will enable us to respond to any future mission, domestic or overseas, that we will be called upon to do."

Both Richards had high praise for the soldiers of the 185th, the only Maine National Guard unit in Aroostook County, where both leaders had their original assignments as platoon leaders and Evan also served as executive officer. The brothers praised the enlisted and commissioned leaders, past and present, for fostering a family environment where soldiers look out after one another.

Cole Richards also supported Capital Response as a platoon leader for one of the 185th's sister units, the 251st Engineer Company out of Norway, Maine, one of the other roles he has held in the 133rd Engineer Battalion. Cole resides in Presque Isle with his wife, Emily, and is employed as a quality control manager for Louisiana Pacific.

Evan Richards enlisted in the Maine Army National Guard as a heavy construction equipment operator in 2010, commissioned as a second lieutenant in 2013, and has served in various leadership roles in the 133rd Engineer Battalion. He resides in Mapleton with his wife, Hallie, and works as a loan officer for Farm Credit East.

The Maine Army National Guard has had a presence in Aroostook County since 1894, beginning with Company L of the 2nd Maine Infantry Regiment, based in Houlton. The unit was reorganized in 1922 into the 1st Battalion-152nd Field Artillery Regiment, which maintained a foothold in Aroostook through 2007 when the battalion was consolidated into the 185th Engineer Support Company. The unit proudly retains the motto "County Thunder," an homage to their field artillery days and the generations of County soldiers who served in the unit.


Photos courtesy of Sgt. 1st Class Abigail Comee-McCourt