Changing of the Guard:
945th Engineer Company welcomes new commander
Story by Sgt. Benjamin Fair, 196th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
NORWALK, Ohio (01/11/20)
Capt. Sulaiman Bah relinquished command of the 945th Engineer Company to Capt. Jill Hoffman during a ceremony at the Norwalk Armory. Bah, who led the company since August 2017, passed the 945th colors to Hoffman — who became the first female commander in the unit’s nearly 150-year history — signifying the official transfer of power for the 945th.
Bah, an immigrant from Sierra Leone in western Africa, joined the Ohio Army National Guard in August 2010, commissioned in 2011 and went to Basic Officer Leader Course in 2012. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2016-17. In his civilian career, he works for the Ohio Department of Transportation as a facilities engineer.
“The highlights, the part I enjoyed about being a commander is, especially during annual training, you get to be in the field with the Soldiers, sleep out there, dig in and get dirty,” Bah said. “You work with them, trying to come up with solutions every day.”
Following the change of command ceremony, Bah was set to move on to his next assignment with the 16th Engineer Brigade headquarters’ compliance office.
Hoffman joined the Ohio National Guard in September 2012. She started her career with the 945th, where she served as a platoon leader under Bah. She then commanded the 5694th, 295th and the 296th Engineer Detachments, all firefighting units. In her civilian career, she works as a firefighter for the Toledo Fire Department.
“I'm excited to just get hands on and see all the challenges and what I can do to make their mission more successful,” Hoffman said.
The 945th has spent its entire 142-year history in Norwalk and has been an infantry and engineer unit during that time. The company has earned campaign credit for World War I, World War II and the War on Terrorism. The unit earned the Valorous Unit Award in Iraq in 2004-2005.