RICHMOND, Va. –
The Virginia National Guard’s change of command ceremony scheduled for June 3, 2023, will feature an F-22 Raptor flyover and blank-fire artillery salute, and residents of the Bellwood area of Chesterfield County surrounding Defense Supply Center Richmond should expect brief periods of loud noise during the Saturday morning ceremony and the Friday afternoon rehearsal.
During the ceremony, Brig. Gen. James W. Ring will be promoted to major general and take command of the Virginia National Guard from Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams. On March 31, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced Ring’s appointment to serve as the 29th Adjutant General of Virginia and lead the Virginia Army National Guard, Virginia Air National Guard and Virginia Defense Force.
The ceremony is scheduled to begin June 3 at 9 a.m. VNG Airmen assigned to the 192nd Wing at Joint Base Langley-Eustis will perform the F-22 flyover, and VNG Soldiers assigned to the Norfolk-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will blank fire the honor salute. A rehearsal of the artillery salute will take place Friday afternoon.
The Troutville-based 29th Infantry Division Band will provide music for the ceremony, and members of the Virginia Defense Force will provide traffic control and medical support.
“I am pleased to appoint Brig. Gen. James W. Ring as the new Adjutant General of Virginia to succeed Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams,” Youngkin said in his appointment announcement. “Brig. Gen. Ring is a proven leader who has served in key command and staff positions at the state and national level as well as in combat, and I am confident in his abilities to lead the Virginia National Guard and Virginia Defense Force. Maj. Gen. Williams retires after nearly 40 years of dedicated service to commonwealth and nation, and we wish him the best as he moves on to his next chapter.”
“Maj. Gen. Williams has been a superb leader for the Virginia National Guard and has positively influenced its future. I’m excited to work with Brig. Gen. Ring as he takes the helm as the new the Adjutant General, he brings tremendous talent,” said Craig Crenshaw, Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs.
Ring currently serves as the Virginia National Guard’s director of the joint staff, a position he has held since May 2018.
“I am incredibly honored and humbled by Governor Youngkin selecting me to lead the more than 9,000 Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen and members of the Virginia Defense Force,” Ring said. “I look forward to working with our leaders to build on the high levels of readiness reached under Maj. Gen. Williams’ leadership.”
Williams will retire July 1, 2023.
“Being assigned as the 28th Adjutant General of Virginia has been a singular honor and privilege to serve the men and women of the Virginia National Guard and Virginia Defense Force over the last nine years," Williams said. "I could not be prouder of these men and women who have displayed such dedication and professionalism. No matter what the challenge we faced, they always accomplished the mission in spectacular fashion."
The Adjutant General of Virginia serves as the agency head for the Virginia Department of Military Affairs, the state agency providing leadership and administrative support to the Virginia Army National Guard, Virginia Air National Guard and Virginia Defense Force.
Williams was officially sworn in to his third term as Adjutant General of Virginia June 28, 2022. He was first sworn June 2, 2014, and he was reappointed for a second time and took the oath of office again Jan. 22, 2018. Since then, Williams has led the VNG through an unprecedented operational tempo.
The VNG’s support to Virginia’s COVID-19 response lasted more than 460 days where they assisted with vaccinations, testing and administrative, logistics and planning support at locations across the state. During COVID-19 response operations, nearly 600 VNG Soldiers and Airmen and VDF members completed more than 1,100 missions to help keep their fellow Virginians safe during the global pandemic. They supported nearly 160 different local, state and federal agencies over the course of the mobilization.
VNG personnel quickly deployed to assist civilian law enforcement with civil disruption response in Washington, D.C., and stayed to support security operations at the 59th Presidential Inauguration. On Inauguration Day, approximately 2,400 VNG troops were among the more than 25,000 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from across the country on duty assisting authorities with keeping people safe and protecting property. A group of about 1,000 VNG personnel remained to assist with the enduring National Guard support following the inauguration.
Over the last two years, more than 2,000 Virginia National Guard personnel mobilized on federal active duty in the United States and overseas, the third most in the last century. VNG Soldiers on duty in the U.S. provided aviation, engineer, transportation and unmanned aerial surveillance support to the Department of Defense-approved mission assisting Customs and Border Protection on the Southwest Border and cyberspace operations support to U.S. Cyber Command.
Soldiers deployed overseas provided mission command for multi-national forces in Kuwait, mission command and base life support in Iraq and Kuwait, a security response force in the Horn of Africa, air defense site security in Iraq, engineer utilities support in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait and conducted NATO peace support operations in Kosovo. VNG Airmen also supported a short-notice air superiority support in the United Arab Emirates.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 18,500 VNG Soldiers and Airmen have mobilized across the globe and here in the United States for homeland security missions.
Ring is a 1988 Distinguished Military Graduate of Virginia Military Institute, and he holds a master’s degree from the Command and General Staff College in Military Arts and Science and a master’s degree from the U.S. Army War College in Strategic Studies. He commanded at the company, battalion, brigade and general officer task force levels and has served with distinction in key leader operational assignments from the state to national levels. He has deployed in support of Operation New Horizons in U.S. Southern Command; Operation Joint Forge in Bosnia-Herzegovina; Operation Iraqi Freedom in Southwest Asia; as well as to Operation Jump Start on the U.S. Southwest Border.
Williams, a lifelong Virginian and a 1985 graduate of Virginia Tech, earned his commission as a field artillery officer. He has served at every level beginning with a tour on active duty with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and then transitioning to the Virginia Army National Guard in 1990. Williams served much of his military career as a traditional status National Guard Soldier and also built a career as a federal civil servant culminating as the Director of Training Support and Doctrine at the Combined Arms Support Command at Fort Lee, Virginia. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Management Science from Virginia Tech and has a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University and a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.
About the Virginia National Guard and Virginia Defense Force
The Virginia National Guard is a unique dual-status force with a federal mission to provide a combat reserve for the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force to fight our nation’s wars and a state mission to provide a response force that answers the call of the Governor to defend the commonwealth. The VNG traces the history and tradition of Citizen-Soldier service to the founding of Jamestown in 1607, and there has been a military presence defending Virginia ever since.
The Virginia Defense Force is authorized by Section 44-54.4 of the Code of Virginia as the all-volunteer reserve of the Virginia National Guard, and the VDF serves as a force multiplier integrated into all VNG domestic operations. Members of the VDF volunteer their time for training and community support and are only paid when called to state active duty by an authorization from the Governor of Virginia.