RICHMOND, Va. –
Brig. Gen. James W. Ring took command of the Virginia National Guard as the Adjutant General of Virginia from Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams and was promoted to major general during a ceremony June 3, 2023, at the VNG Sergeant Bob Slaughter Headquarters at Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia. Lt. Gen. Marc H. Sasseville, the Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau, presided over the ceremony.
Ring, who has served as the VNG Director of the Joint Staff since 2018, was appointed to succeed Williams by Governor Glenn Youngkin, who announced the appointment in March 2023. He now will lead the Virginia Army National Guard, the Virginia Air National Guard and the Virginia Defense Force.
“It is an honor to stand before you today as the 29th Adjutant General of Virginia,” said Ring during the ceremony. “I thank Governor Youngkin for my appointment to this important role and for the opportunity to serve the Soldiers, Airmen and civilians of the Virginia National Guard.”
Willams has served as the Adjutant General of Virginia since 2014, serving under three different governors. He will formally retire July 1, 2023.
“As I share this time with you, I’m incredibly humbled,” said Williams. “Every day, even the days, weeks and months that were away from home, have been a blessing and I can’t believe how fortunate I’ve been to serve our nation and our state working shoulder to shoulder with such amazing and selfless professionals. You truly are the best that our nation can offer.”
Hundreds of current and former Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, as well as family, friends and colleagues of both Ring and Williams, attended the ceremony, as did retired Maj. Gen. Craig Crenshaw, the Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, and multiple lawmakers and their representatives.
Youngkin and Crenshaw both offered their congratulations to Ring as well as the retiring Williams.
“On behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia, congratulations Maj. Gen. Williams on your 38 years of exemplary service to the United States Army and the Virginia National Guard,” Youngkin said in a statement read during the ceremony. “The dedication and professionalism you have displayed throughout your career are a credit to this nation and the commonwealth.”
“Maj. Gen. Williams has been a superb leader for the Virginia National Guard and has positively influenced its future,” said Crenshaw. “I’m excited to work with Maj. Gen. Ring as he takes the helm as the new the Adjutant General, he brings tremendous talent.”
Sasseville also gave remarks at the event honoring both Ring and Williams for their service to commonwealth and country.
“Both of these men typify the National Guard’s extraordinary history of dedication, readiness and valor,” said Sasseville. “For Maj. Gen. Ring, it is a celebration of achievements and demonstrated potential. It is a higher evolution of a career based on service and excellence, and it is the ascension to a position of profound trust and responsibility, and it marks a new chapter in the 416-year history of the Virginia National Guard. But today is also a celebration of conclusions. For Maj. Gen. Williams, today is a celebration of your legacy. It is a remembrance of your enduring contributions to the Virginia National Guard and to the whole of our nation.”
During the ceremony, VNG Soldiers assigned to the Norfolk-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team blank fired the honor salute, and VNG Airmen assigned to the 192nd Wing at Joint Base Langley-Eustis performed an F-22 flyover. The Troutville-based 29th Infantry Division Band provided ceremonial music for the event, and members of the VDF provided traffic support and medical assistance for the ceremony.
After the change of command, Williams was honored with a retirement ceremony and presented with commemorative gifts from different VNG commands and staff sections. His wife, Cheryl Williams, also gave remarks on her and her husband’s journey over his military career, and acknowledging the support they have had from their extended Guard family during his nine years as the adjutant general.
“I wanted to thank all of you, everyone out here for the last 33 years that I’ve been part of the Guard family, especially the last nine years, as he was honored to serve as your TAG and I was honored to part of that,” she said. “So many of you have talked about the success that we’ve had over this time period, but all of that was facilitated by so many people here ready to do what it takes to be the best at what they do. Every time Tim said to spread your wings, you did, and I’m really proud of you.”
Williams also thanked his wife for her support during his career.
“Cheryl, you’ve been there every step along the path, and kept me straight,” said Williams. “You’ve been my best friend, my toughest critic and staunchest supporter. You’ve carried the burden in more ways than I could ever describe or thank you enough for.”
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 in 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.
More photos from the ceremony: https://ngpa.us/25573