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NEWS | April 12, 2023

AXE founder, promoted to full-bird colonel

By Sgt. 1st. Class Benjamin Crane, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

Kentucky Army National Guard Lt. Col. Eddie Simpson was promoted to the rank of colonel during a ceremony at Wellman Armory in Frankfort, Ky., Apr. 12. 
The Adjutant General of Kentucky, Maj. Gen. Haldane Lamberton hosted the promotion, addressing his remarks to approximately 100 Soldiers, Family members, and friends in attendance.

Lamberton, shared a story about when he was in Officer Candidate School, there were about 200 lieutenants, but years (decades) later, only about five made it the rank of colonel.

“Becoming a full colonel in the military is really very rare and special,” said Lamberton. “Very few do. But those that do make it, like Colonel Simpson, it’s because of their service and commitment, as well as their impact on the organization.”
“I would say that Eddie has had that type of impact. From various deployments and his service to the National Guard, I feel he has been something special,” said Lamberton.
Simpson’s most significant impact on the National Guard was founding the AXE (Attack eXercise with Education) Program here in 2017. The program has gained in popularity and since become the model of what all the other states look at to base their own programs on.

As part of Kentucky Guard tradition, Simpson was pinned by his wife, son, and parents. 
When Simpson addressed the crowd, he was very thankful to those around him that got him to this point.
“I’d like to start by thanking General Lamberton for the opportunity and having faith in me to accept the responsibility that comes with this rank,” said Simpson.
He went on to name several important people he felt challenged him and supported him throughout his career. But none were more important than his family. His wife, Courtney, his parents, Linda and Eddie, and his son, Kevin who all were sitting in the front row.
“My family has been there through it all,” said Simpson. “Without their love and sacrifices, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” Turning to his wife, he said, “Courtney, I owe you for all the sacrifices you make. You're my rock and I love you. Mom and Dad, you have been huge for me in life. You gave me values and raised me right,” he said, looking into his parents’ eyes. Turning back to the audience, “Nothing means more to me than their opinion of me. And if I ever let them down, I know would have failed.”
Simpson has served 32 years in the Kentucky Guard and deployed six times, including service in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo.
He shared one final thought in closing.
“I joined the National Guard many years ago because I was raised in a patriotic household. The number of people in this room has let me know that my dream to serve is still alive and well, and it's been my honor and privilege to serve with each and every one of you.” 

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