Wright to command Va. Air National Guard following Johnson retirement

Brig. Gen. Wayne A. Wright

Brig. Gen. Wayne A. Wright

SANDSTON, Va. — Brig. Gen. Wayne A. Wright will take command of the Virginia Air National Guard effective Jan. 1, 2015, following the retirement of Brig. Gen. R. Zane Johnson, according to an announcement made by Brig. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. Wright currently serves as the Virginia National Guard director of the joint staff and will be succeeded by Col. Paul F. Griffin who currently serves as the chief of the joint staff.

“We wish Brig. Gen. Zane Johnson the best in his retirement, and we thank him for his decades of dedicated service to the Air Force and Virginia National Guard,” Williams said. “He has proven to be a highly effective leader who has has ensured the Virginia Air National Guard maintained high levels of readiness for both its state and federal mission. I have every confidence that Brig. Gen. Wayne Wright will build on Brig. Gen. Johnson’s many accomplishments and guide the Virginia Air Guard through the challenging times ahead of us.”

Wright will be responsible for leading the Virginia Air National Guard, assisting and empowering Virginia Airmen in executing their respective plans, programs and missions. He analyzes and evaluates training programs and operational readiness levels to determine mission capability and unit effectiveness. He is the primary advisor to the Adjutant General of Virginia on Air National Guard affairs at both the state and federal level.

Johnson took command of the Virginia Air National Guard June 21, 2010. He is a 1984 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and earned his commission through Air Force ROTC. After an initial active duty tour in the Air Force, he transitioned to the New Jersey Air National Guard in 1991 and then transferred to the Virginia Air National Guard in 1996. He is a command pilot with more 3,000 flying hours in the F-15, F-16 and F-22 and more than 5,000 hours commercial time. His previous assignments include serving as vice commander of the Virginia Air National Guard’s 192nd Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, director of operations for Joint Force Headquarters Virginia-Air, commander of the 192nd Operations Support Flight and flight commander in the 149th Fighter Squadron. Johnson is a commercial airline pilot in his civilian career.

Wright received his Air Force commission in 1981 after graduating from the University of South Carolina. He transitioned from active duty to the Georgia Air National Guard in 1992. He has held various staff and command positions at the squadron, wing and headquarters level. He served as acting Adjutant General of Virginia from June 11 to July 14, 2010, and also served as the Virginia Air National Guard Chief of Staff prior to becoming Director of the Joint Staff.

Griffin is a graduate of Longwood College and received his commission in 1987 through the University of Richmond ROTC program. He initially served on active duty and joined the Maryland Army National Guard in 1995, then transferred to the Virginia Army National Guard in 1997. He has served in numerous company and battalion staff and command positions and most recently served as the chief of staff of the Fort Belvoir-based 29th Infantry Division prior to becoming chief of the joint staff. Griffin deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina for Operation Joint Guard in 1997 and served on federal active duty in support of Operation Noble Eagle in 2003 and in Afghanistan in 2011.