Former SPS presented Va. Distinguished Service Medal

Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, presents Judge Marla Graff Decker with the Virginia Distinguished Service Medal Dec. 4, 2013, in Richmond. The VDSM is the highest decoration the Commonwealth of Virginia can award, and it was presented to Decker for her significant contributions to the Virginia National Guard as the Secretary of Public Safety. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, presents Judge Marla Graff Decker with the Virginia Distinguished Service Medal Dec. 4, 2013, in Richmond. The VDSM is the highest decoration the Commonwealth of Virginia can award, and it was presented to Decker for her significant contributions to the Virginia National Guard as the Secretary of Public Safety. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs)

RiCHMOND, Va. — Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, presented Judge Marla Graff Decker with the Virginia Distinguished Service Medal Dec. 4, 2013, in Richmond. The VDSM is the highest decoration the Commonwealth of Virginia can award, and it was presented to Decker for her significant contributions to the Virginia National Guard as the Secretary of Public Safety.

“Thanks for your leadership and friendship to the Virginia National Guard,” Long said before presenting the award to Decker.

“This is quite an honor,” Decker said. “I have never been prouder than to have served as the Secretary of Public Safety for the Virginia National Guard. Whether you are deployed or here in in Virginia, you are there when we need you. I am honored to have served with you, and I will miss you all greatly.”

The full Virginia Distinguished Service Medal citation reads as follows:
“For meritorious service as the Secretary of Public Safety for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Secretary Decker’s tireless efforts and unwavering support of the Virginia National Guard and it’s combined force of more than 10,000 Army, Air Force, Defense Force and Civilian Support personnel were instrumental to the organization’s successes over the past four years. Her commitment to excellence and dedication to public safety ensured the Virginia National Guard remained a premier ready, relevant and rapid responding force to protect and defend the Commonwealth and the Nation. Her contributions culminated in the organization being recognized as one of the best in the nation and reflect great credit upon herself, the Virginia National Guard and the Commonwealth.”

Governor Bob McDonnell appointed Decker to serve as SPS at the start of his term in January 2010, and he appointed Decker to the Court of Appeals of Virginia effective Nov. 1, 2013. McDonnell appointed Deputy Secretary Bryan Rhode to replace Decker as SPS.

“It would be impossible to overstate the incredible passion for public service possessed by Secretary Marla Decker,” said McDonnell when he appointed Decker to the Court of Appeals. “Anyone who has ever met her knows she lives to serve the Commonwealth and to help others. She has dedicated her life to serving our community.”

Decker, Rhode and Deputy Public Safety Secretary Brian Swan presented Long with a Certificate of Recognition signed by Governor McDonnell in honor of Long’s nearly 50 years of service in uniform.

The full text of the Certificate of Recognition is copied below:

Recognizing Major General Daniel E. Long Jr. for 50 Years of Distinguished Military Service

WHEREAS, Major General Daniel E. Long, Jr. enlisted in the Virginia National Guard in February 1964, advanced to the rank of sergeant and then graduated from the Officer Candidate School Fort Benning, Georgia with a commission as a second lieutenant in September 1967; and

WHEREAS, Major General Long served as a platoon leader, company executive officer, staff officer and company commander in the 276th Engineer Battalion from October 1967 to April 1983, and commanded the 229th Engineer Battalion from August 1985 to April 1990, and commanded the 2nd Brigade, 29th Infantry Division from April 1995 to September 1996; and

WHEREAS, Major General Long completed U. S. Army Ranger School in December 1992, earning the Ranger Tab at the age of 46; and

WHEREAS, Major General Long commanded the 29th Infantry Division from August 2002 to September 2004 having previously served as the Chief of Staff and Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver for the 29th Infantry Division; and Deputy Commander Stabilization Force, Multi-National Division North Bosnia from September 2001 to April 2002; and

WHEREAS, Major General Long served as the Deputy Director of the Department of Defense Project and Contracting Office in Baghdad, Iraq from September 2004 to March 2005; and

WHEREAS, Major General Long commanded Task Force Katrina from September 2005 to December 2005; and

WHEREAS, Major General Long served as Senior Military Officer and Economic Development and Infrastructure Lead for Department of Defense Iraq and Afghanistan Working Group from December 2005 to August 2006; and

WHEREAS, Major General Long served as Special Assistant to the Chief of National Guard Bureau on Infrastructure Development and Southwest Border from August 2006 to July 2007; and

WHEREAS, Major General Long commanded Northern Command’s Joint Task Force Civil Support at Fort Monroe, from July 2007 to July 2010; and

WHEREAS, Major General Long assumed the duties of Adjutant General of Virginia July 14, 2010, and as the Adjutant General is responsible for the combat readiness, administration and training of more than 8,600 Virginia Army and Air National Guard personnel as well as the readiness of more than 1,000 members of the Virginia Defense Force; and

WHEREAS, Major General Long fostered a culture of excellence within the Virginia National Guard making sure it anticipated the demands of both state and federal missions in order to be able to rapidly respond when needed to aid the citizens of the Commonwealth and defend the ideals of freedom anywhere in the world; and

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert F. McDonnell do hereby recognize MAJOR GENERAL DANIEL E. LONG, JR. for 50 YEARS OF DISTINGUISHED MILITARY SERVICE TO COMMONWEALTH AND COUNTRY, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.