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Vadnais to command the Michigan National GuardTuesday, Jan. 4, 2011
LANSING, MI - Major General Greg Vadnais, a former division commander who led troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and in the Hurricane Katrina rescue effort, will assume the post of adjutant general and take command of the Michigan National Guard, Governor Rick Snyder announced.
In that role, Vadnais (pronounced VAD-nay) will also serve as director of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
"I picked Major General Vadnais for two reasons: number one is that he has unparalleled skills getting troops prepared to provide relief in the event of a disaster - under his command the Guard will maintain the level of readiness it has achieved," Snyder said. "But I also picked Major General Vadnais because he understands what it takes to balance a civilian career with service in the military. He will make sure our troops and their families get the support they need." Vadnais, of Gaylord, has more than 30 years of experience in the Michigan National Guard and has commanded at every level in the Army National Guard. He is the former commander of the 38th Infantry Division - one of eight National Guard divisions in the country.
A true citizen soldier, Vadnais began his career as a private and worked his way up the ranks while running his own business. Vadnais is the former owner of Paxton Resources, LLC - a Michigan energy company.
Vadnais earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Central Michigan University and is a resident graduate of the U.S. Army War College.
The official change of command ceremony will take place on Saturday, Jan. 8 at 3 p.m. on the drill floor of the Joint Force Headquarters of the Michigan National Guard, located at 3411 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Lansing. Snyder will attend as Major General Thomas G. Cutler relinquishes command and Major General Vadnais assumes command.
Snyder also announced that Jeff Barnes, who currently serves as Snyder's deputy chief of staff, will take on the additional responsibility of coordinating the departments of corrections, state police and military and veterans affairs as the new public safety group executive.
Barnes is a highly-decorated 10-year army veteran who served two tours in Iraq, a tour in the Balkans when it was a combat zone and a tour in Korea. For his service, he earned two Bronze Stars (including one with the "Valor" distinction), a Meritorious Service Medal and a Combat Action Badge. He also received the order of St. George.
"Ensuring the public's safety is one of the most basic and essential of all government responsibilities," Snyder said. "Jeff's incredible experience managing large organizations in stressful situations gives me every confidence that he will rise to the challenge of using taxpayer resources more efficiently to make sure residents are secure and those who provide that security are also protected."
As a troop commander, Barnes was responsible for the training, development and welfare of 358 soldiers and their families. He managed 16 platoons and sections and $140 million worth of equipment. Barnes oversaw logistical support for more than 700 soldiers while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2003, Barnes' squadron was the lead unit of the US Armed Forces from Kuwait to Baghdad and conducted operations in Baghdad, Balad and Fallujah. Later, Barnes' unit provided humanitarian relief and medical support to more than 2,500 Iraqi children and adults in an effort to build community relations.
Following his service in the military, Barnes earned a master of public policy degree from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. While pursuing his degree, he served as an intern in the White House under former President George W. Bush in the USA Freedom Corp program. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.
Most recently, he served as policy director and then campaign manager on Snyder's gubernatorial campaign.
Barnes is married to Taryn, who also served two tours in Iraq as a scout reconnaissance helicopter pilot.
EDITORS NOTE: The change of command ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 8 is open to media. Governor Snyder will attend.
For more information contact Geralyn Lasher at 517-335-6397 or email email@example.com
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