Carlitti named new commander of Virginia Defense Force

PatchVADF75SANDSTON, Va. — Retired Marine Corps Col. Justin P. Carlitti, Sr., will succeed Maj. Gen. (Va.) John Taylor as the commander of the Virginia Defense Force, according to an announcement made Aug. 11, 2014, by Brig. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. Carlitti currently serves as the chief of staff for the VDF, and Taylor is retiring after leading the VDF for eight years and serving in the Virginia National Guard for more than 33 years.

“Col. Carlitti’s wealth of military and civilian experience make him the ideal candidate to lead the Virginia Defense Force and build on the dramatic improvements made to organization under Maj. Gen. Taylor,” Williams said. “He knows the organization well, and I am confident he will maintain the same high levels of readiness and continue to make sure the VDF continues to be an integral part of the Virginia Department of Military Affairs response capabilities.”

Carlitti will take command of the VDF in a ceremony scheduled for Sept. 28 at Fort Pickett and will also be promoted to brigadier general in the Virginia militia.

Taylor served for more than 33 years in the Virginia National Guard and retired as a colonel. He took command of the VDF in August 2006. While serving as the commander of the Virginia Defense Force, he worked full time providing contract support at National Guard Bureau conducting strategic analysis and management studies on homeland security, consequence management, homeland defense, civil support operations and reserve component force integration and modernization.

“We wish Maj. Gen. Taylor the best in his retirement and thank him for his decades of service to Virginia and our nation,” Williams said.”During his time in command of the VDF, he brought much needed focus to the organization’s mission capabilities, promoted the volunteer spirit vital to the organization’s success and greatly increased the VDF’s role in DMA’s overall response plan.”

The VDF is an all-volunteer force authorized by the Code of Virginia and organized under the Virginia Department of Military Affairs reporting to the Adjutant General of Virginia. The members of the VDF volunteer their time for training and are only paid when called to state active duty by an authorization from the Governor of Virginia.

Carlitti, a native of Syracuse, New York, attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York with a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship. Upon graduation in 1982 with a Bachelors of Science degree in electrical engineering, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He was designated as a communications officer upon completion of the Basic School and the Basic Communication Officers Course in Quantico, Va.

He served on active duty until 1991 when he joined the Marine Corps Reserve and accepted a civil service position with the Department of the Army in Washington, D. C. Through his career as a Marine reservist, he served in multiple assignments including a mobilization in 2003 in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom serving as an operations officer and deputy communications officer for II Marine Expeditionary Force Augmentation Command Element based on Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Upon demobilization, he assumed command of the Marine Wing Communications Squadron-48, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing based in Chicago, Ill. While in command, he deployed detachments to Iraq and supported recovery operations in response to Hurricane Katrina. In 2006, Carlitti assumed command of a Joint Military Reserve Intelligence Group, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, DC.

Upon retiring from the Marine Corps in 2009, Carlitti joined the Virginia Defense Force serving as its VDF communications officer, operations and training officer and is currently its chief of staff.

Carlitti is a senior civilian with the Department of the Army where he is serving in a joint duty assignment.

Carlitti is a 1996 graduate of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, a 2003 graduate of the U. S. Army War College earning a masters degree in strategic studies, and a 2009 graduate of the Joint Forces Staff College Advanced Joint professional military education course. He has completed FEMA’s Professional Development Series, its Community Emergency Response Team course, and holds a Military Emergency Management Specialist designation. Carlitti is also licensed by the FCC as an amateur extra class radio operator and is a trained adult Boy Scout leader.