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NEWS | June 10, 2018

DiNonno takes command of 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team

By Cotton Puryear Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office

Lt. Col. Joseph DiNonno took command of the Staunton-based 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team from Col. Scott Smith, in a traditional change of command ceremony June 10, 2018, at Fort Pickett, Virginia. Brig. Gen. John Epperly, commander of the 29th Infantry Division, presided over the exchange of unit colors that symbolized the transfer of command from Smith to DiNonno.

DiNonno most recently served as the Virginia National Guard J3 director of joint operations in a traditional Guard status, and Smith will become the Virginia Army National Guard operations officer in both his full time and traditional Guard status.

The 116th IBCT is authorized approximately 3,500 Soldiers and is the largest major command in the Virginia National Guard. The 116th has units throughout Virginia from Winchester to Pulaski along I-81, from Staunton to Virginia Beach along I-64, from Danville to Lynchburg to Warrenton along Route 29 as well as Fredericksburg, Manassas and Leesburg. An infantry battalion based in Barbourville, Kentucky, is also aligned with the 116th for training and readiness oversight.

A brigade combat team is the basic deployable unit of maneuver in the U.S. Army and carries with it support units necessary to sustain its operations away from its parent division. The 116th consists of three infantry battalions, a cavalry squadron, a field artillery battalion, a brigade support battalion and brigade engineer battalion.

DiNonno graduated from Old Dominion University and commissioned as a second lieutenant in May 1994. During the course of his career, he served in a wide variety of leadership positions including platoon leader, company executive officer, Infantry company commander, planner, squadron operations officer, squadron executive officer, squadron commander and Infantry brigade executive officer.

He mobilized and deployed to Guantanamo Bay in 2002-03 and Kuwait in 2007-08 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and to Iraq in 2011 in support of Operation New Dawn.

DiNonno holds a Juris Doctor from Regent Law School, a Masters in Strategic Studies from the Army War College and a Bachelor of Science from Old Dominion University, and his military achievements include earning the U.S. Army Ranger Tab, Expert Infantryman Badge, Airborne Badge and Air Assault Badge.

Smith is a graduate of the United State Military Academy and served on active duty prior to joining the Virginia National Guard. While on active duty, he served in the 10th Mountain Division as an infantry platoon leader, anti-tank platoon leader and battalion personnel officer. He was later assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division where he served as a brigade training officer, brigade personnel officer and mechanized infantry company commander. His last active duty assignment was as an advisor to the Hawaii National Guard while assigned to the 196th Training Support Brigade.

When Smith joined the Virginia National Guard, he served as the operations officer for the Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team during the unit’s deployment to Afghanistan. After the deployment, he served as the battalion executive officer, and then was reassigned to be the executive officer for the Adjutant General of Virginia. He commanded the Lynchburg-based 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, from February 2008 to March 2010. After command, Smith attended the U. S. Army War College and was subsequently assigned as the Virginia Army National Guard state personnel officer in 2012 and later was assigned as the director of joint operations.

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