FORT PICKETT, Va. — Command Sgt. Maj. (Va.) Tony Kegley took responsibility as the Virginia Defense Force command sergeant major from Command Sgt. Maj. (Va.) Alan Grandis Nov. 7, 2020, at Fort Pickett, Virginia. Col. (Va.) David James, the VDF deputy commander, presided over the ceremony and the exchange of organizational colors representing the change of responsibility from Grandis to Kegley.
Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, presented his challenge coin to Grandis in recognition of his years of outstanding duty performance. He also thanked members of the VDF for their dedicated service and volunteering their time and energy for training in support of the Virginia National Guard and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
“It has been my distinct professional honor to have served with Command Sgt. Maj. Grandis over these past six years as he provided his personal mentorship and counsel to many, both officer and enlisted,” said Brig. Gen. (Va.) Justin Carlitti, Sr., commander of the VDF. “I equally look forward to serving with Command Sgt. Maj. Kegley who brings an accomplished record of senior NCO leadership from the Active Army. I look for him to continue to advance the professionalism of the VDF by bringing new perspectives and approaches.”
Some of the first documented references of sergeants were made in the 1200s, and the rank of sergeant traces to the Latin meaning of “one who serves,” Carlitti said.
“As Command Sgt. Maj. Grandis passes the title and responsibility of VDF command sergeant major to Command Sgt. Maj. Kegley, so too we must remember the historical significance of the ‘servant leader’ to the unit that they lead,” he said.
Grandis will continue to serve the VDF as he assumes his duties as the operations chief for the VDF Active Detachment.
Prior to joining the VDF, Grandis served in the United States Marine Corps and the Richmond Fire Department where he retired as a captain. He served as commander of both engine and aerial ladder companies and was a member of the swift water river rescue team performing both SCUBA and surface air hard hat diving. He joined the VDF in 2004 as the VDF Division Military Police Company platoon sergeant, and later as the company first sergeant and later as the command sergeant major for the MP battalion and then the the newly-formed 1st Regiment. In 2013, Grandis assumed the duties of Virginia Defense Force command sergeant major.
Kegley recently retired from active duty service in the U.S. Army and also served in the U.S. Army Reserve and Texas National Guard. He served as squad leader, section leader, platoon sergeant and first Sergeant at the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Sam Houston, and command sergeant major for Wolf Battalion, 1st Army. In 2001, Kegley began working at the National Guard Bureau, and in 2008, he deployed as the subject matter expert in his field representing the interests of the National Guard Bureau in support of the Army National Guard Soldiers in northern Kuwait and the southern Iraq region.