Adjutant General Message: VNG Civil Disturbance Response - June 5, 2020
Virginia National Guard Team,
As the Adjutant General of Virginia, I have the responsibility to clearly articulate the stance of the Virginia National Guard. Racial prejudice and discrimination have no place in our formations and will not be tolerated or ignored. There is no doubt in my mind Virginia’s strength is our diversity and equality. Those who have stood up to exercise their right to peacefully protest should be commended while those who act unlawfully should be held responsible. Further, it’s my responsibility to foster an environment where your voice and actions matter. Soldiers, Airmen, Virginia Defense Force personnel and state and federal civilians need to feel valued, respected and able to voice concerns to their chain of command. All leaders owe you an environment free from personal, social and institutional barriers.
It’s difficult to put into words the tragedy that grips our country and the tremendous turmoil our communities are feeling. I’ve spoken with many of our troops and have emphasized that we, the Virginia National Guard, are here to protect all of our citizens and provide an environment where they are safe to peacefully voice their position. This is just a start of a broader discussion in our nation, and we’ll do our part to make a positive impact.
All of us are under ever-increasing scrutiny, and rightly so. We must all be faithful to the oath we swore. I’ve been reminded by many senior officers and NCOs “these words are the tie that binds us in the tough times. That oath requires each of us to do our very best to legally, ethically and morally complete our lawfully assigned missions. When we remember that, we gain strength, purpose and confidence.”
I ask all of you to do your very best in carrying out your duties. None of us can do more and our state, and our nation expect no less. We have a lot of work to do and some uncomfortable conversations to have, but I am confident if we stay focused on our oath and the values our military expects us to live by, we can be a tremendous part of moving our communities forward.
I am incredibly proud of the great work from everyone during these challenging times, and please extend my appreciation to your loved ones as well as to your employers. We can’t do this without their support.
My prayers are with you and yours in these trying times and to those who have experienced hardships because of the current pandemic. Your efforts during this time are extraordinary, and our communities across the Commonwealth see it. Thank you! I wish all of you the best; please be safe and focused as we go about our mission!
MG Timothy Williams
28th Adjutant General of Virginia