Adjutant General’s 2018 Veterans Day Message

Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams

RICHMOND, Va. — Each year on November 11 we honor the brave men and women from all the branches of the military for their service and sacrifice in defending the ideals of freedom across the globe. This year Veterans Day is even more special because it falls on the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I.

In 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the four years of combat in Europe formally ended. In 1938, Congress declared Armistice Day a holiday, and the name changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. Veterans in 1954.

We owe a special debt of gratitude to each and every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine and Coast Guardsman for everything they have done to give us the freedoms we enjoy today, whether they are currently serving or wore the cloth of our country in years past. And not only should we say “thank you” to them, but also we must recognize the service and sacrifice of their families. Our military forces couldn’t accomplish their mission with them. We also owe a special thanks to our employers whose support is so critical to the National Guard’s success.

The Virginia National Guard traces the history and tradition of Citizen-Warrior service to the founding of Jamestown in 1607, and there has been a military presence defending the commonwealth ever since. Virginia militia units served through the colonial era, Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and American Civil War, and the federalization of militia units to defend the U. S. border from hostile Mexican revolutionaries from 1916 to 1917 helped prepare the troops for service in World War I.

World War I was a significant time for the National Guard because it was the first time that volunteer state militia units were activated for federal duty under a formal Army structure and deployed overseas for combat operations. Guard Soldiers served with courage, honor and distinction, and that tradition continues on today as our Guard personnel have deployed all over the world.

Here in Virginia, we are experiencing a brief pause in the pace of our federal active-duty obligations. We recently welcomed home Airmen from the 192nd Wing out of Langley Air Force Base as they returned from combat operations in the Middle East, and Soldiers assigned to the Chesterfield-based Detachment 2, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 169th Aviation Regiment just returned from providing air medical evacuation support to the peacekeeping operation in Kosovo.

As we recognize Veterans Day this weekend, Soldiers assigned to the Virginia Beach-based 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion are conducting training to prepare for their upcoming federal active deployment to the Middle East. They join more than 15,000 Soldiers and Airmen who have mobilized for homeland security missions, sustainment support, combat operations and peacekeeping and stabilization missions since September 11, 2001.

Our Soldiers and Airmen continue to effectively manage the demands of being a dual-status force that provides a combat reserve to help fight our nation’s wars in an uncertain, changing global environment and a response force to aid the citizens of the commonwealth in their time of need. I charge everyone in our organization to renew their commitment of service and to focus their energies on the mission critical tasks needed to be able to fight tonight and WIN.

Past generations of patriots dedicated their lives to the defense of our country and that has made us a stronger and more resilient country. Today, men and women from all of our Armed Forces carry on the proud legacy and traditions of all our nation’s veterans who have kept us free. Today, we say thanks to them all.

It is truly an honor to serve with you.

Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams
The 28th Adjutant General of Virginia