Col. Claude J. West recently passed away at the age of 70. He was born in East Point, Georgia. Col. West served in the United States Army and received an honorable discharge in 1968 as a Sergeant. During his time in the U.S. Army, Col. West attended the U.S. Army Ordnance School at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland where he specialized in small arms repair. Col. West also attended Projectionist School at the U.S. Army Training Support Center at Fort Riley, Kansas. Col. West was assigned to an artillery battery where he served as the Supply Sergeant.
Col. West joined the Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) in 1987 and served in 1 st Brigade. In 1995, Col. West completed the Marine Corps Institute’s Amphibious Warfare School as a nonresident student. Col. West was appointed as the commanding officer of 1 st Brigade in 1999. In 2009, Col. West was transferred to Headquarters and appointed Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (G-2). While in the G-2 position, Col. West was responsible for overseeing policy creation, planning, management, and oversight for GSDF intelligence activities. Col. West earned his Search and Rescue III certification in 2010. Col. West was appointed Deputy Commander of the GSDF in 2013. In 2014, Col. West was appointed as a Liaison Officer to the State Guard Association of the United States.(SAUGAS) Col. West was the President of The Association for the Georgia State Defense Force. (TAGSDF) Among his many awards, Col. West was the recipient of the State Active Duty ribbon, the Emergency Service School ribbon, the Volunteer Service ribbon, the Humanitarian Service ribbon, and the Medal of Merit. For his service during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, Col. West was awarded the Commendation ribbon. Col. West was twice awarded an Outstanding Unit Citation for his service in 1st Brigade and at the Confederate Avenue State Complex.
Col. West worked for many years in the broadcast and audiovisual field as an Announcer, Instructor and Technician. Beginning in 1984, Col. West worked as a civilian employee for the Department of the Army as an Audiovisual Specialist. During his time with the Department of the Army, Col. West managed all audiovisual operations at Fort Gillem in Forest Park, Georgia until his retirement in 2009. Col. West was a 1965 graduate of Headland High School in East Point, Georgia. Following his graduation from high school, Col. West attended Greenleaf College where he studied Broadcast Management. Col. West earned his FCC license from the Elkins Institute in Atlanta in 1970 and taught broadcasting at Elkins Institute. He was a deejay on several radio stations throughout Georgia and was a Ring Announcer for the World Wrestling Federation for many years including venues at the Georgia Dome.
He is survived by his wife, Michele, of 32 years and helped raise her two children, Jason Edward King and Heather Nicole King of Morrow, Georgia.