CAMP MURRAY, Wash. --
Col. Ricardo L.A. Camel became the new commander of the 225th Air Defense Group during a change of command ceremony at the Pierce County Readiness Center, Camp Murray, Washington, Dec. 3, 2022.
Camel replaces Col. Raed Gyekis who is retiring after serving a combined 25 years in the U.S. Army as an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter pilot and then in the Washington Air National Guard where he held positions as a Tactical Air Control Party officer and commander for the 194th Mission Support Group and 225th Air Defense Group.
Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh, Washington Air National Guard commander, was the presiding officer for the ceremony. Before transferring the guidon, an emblematic gesture signifying the official passing of command, Welsh described Camel’s qualifications saying, “You could never find somebody that is as purpose built for this job as he is…you can’t get a better trained air defense group commander than Col. Camel.” Welsh concluded his remarks by saying that Camel is the “right man at the right time” to take over command of the 225th ADG.
After assuming command, Camel addressed the members of the 225th ADG. He stressed the importance of the WADS mission of defending America’s skies 24/7/365 under Operation Noble Eagle. “We are some of the luckiest Guardsmen who not only get to train for the federal mission, but we execute it every day, and that’s a direct contribution to our community, and a source of pride for the state that we are responsible for protecting our neighbors,” Camel said.
Camel also explained his vision of the future of the 225th ADG, “We will aggressively advance our capabilities to posture our defense for the growing competition.”
Camel received his commission from the University of Minnesota in 2001. He served 18 years in the active duty United States Air Force as a senior air battle manager where is spent more than 1,000 hours in the Boeing E-3 Sentry airborne warning and control system before transferring to the Washington Air National Guard in 2019.
Prior to his current assignment, Camel served as the commander of the 225th Support Squadron.