Donald E. Edwards

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Major General Donald E. Edwards, Vermont Adjutant General, 1981-1997

Major General Donald E. Edwards (born June 15, 1937) was the Adjutant General of the State of Vermont, serving as the senior uniformed officer in the state and responsible for the organization, training and equipping of nearly 4,000 members of the Vermont Army and Air National Guard. His position as Adjutant General also included appointment as Inspector General and Quartermaster General, and head of the State Military Department, including the Veterans Affairs office.

Early life and start of military career[edit]

Donald Everett Edwards was born in Bellows Falls, Vermont on June 15, 1937.[1] He began his military career as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Armor Branch in 1959 after graduation from Norwich University and completion of the Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He later became qualified as a Transportation officer, and served with the regular Army until 1971, including deployment to Vietnam. He served in the Army Reserve from 1971 until his appointment as Adjutant General of the Vermont National Guard in 1981.[2][3]

Civilian career[edit]

Between leaving active duty in 1971 and being appointed Adjutant General in 1981, Edwards was employed as a dealer in fine arts and antiques and an appraiser of real property, antiques and household effects.[4] He also served as a member of Grafton, Vermont’s School Board and Planning Commission as well as the Windham Regional Planning Commission. From 1975 to 1981 he was a Democratic member of the Vermont House of Representatives.[5]


Edwards is also a graduate of the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.[6]


1. June 6, 1959 – October 31, 1971, United States Army, including deployment for the Vietnam War
2. November 1, 1971 – February 28, 1981, United States Army Reserve, including command of the 413th Supply and Service Battalion
3. March 1, 1981 – March 31, 1997, The Adjutant General, Vermont National Guard, Winooski (later Colchester), Vermont[7]

Awards and Decorations[edit]

Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Meritorious Service Medal
Army Commendation Medal (with Two Oak Leaf Clusters)
Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (with One Silver Oak Leaf Cluster)
National Defense Service Medal (with One Bronze Service Star)
Vietnam Service Medal
Armed Forces Reserve Medal (with Silver Hourglass)
Army Service Ribbon
Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon (with Numeral 1)
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal (First Class)
Vietnam Transportation Badge
Overseas Service Bar (4)
Vermont Outstanding Unit Award
Vermont Service Ribbon (with 3 Bronze Service Stars)
Vermont Duty Ribbon (with 4 Bronze Service Stars)
Vermont State Special Duty Ribbon[8]

Effective Dates of Promotion[edit]

Second Lieutenant, June 6, 1959
First Lieutenant, December 6, 1960
Captain, June 6, 1963
Major, July 14, 1967
Lieutenant Colonel, December 15, 1975
Colonel, December 14, 1980
Brigadier General, March 2, 1982
Major General, May 10, 1983[9]

Military Retirement[edit]

In 1997 Edwards was defeated for reappointment as Adjutant General, losing to Martha Rainville.[10] (In Vermont, the Adjutant General is elected for a two year term by a secret ballot of the Vermont General Assembly.)[11] Rainville became the first woman to ever be appointed as a state Adjutant General.[12][13] Edwards retired from the military upon Rainville assuming the Adjutant General's duties.

Later career[edit]

After his military retirement General Edwards served on the staff of U.S. Representative Bernie Sanders for two years.[14] Later he was an on air commentator for Fox News[15] and the Executive Vice President of an Information Technology company.[16]


In retirement Edwards continued to comment on public affairs in magazine articles and other media.[17] He was a member of the National Veterans Steering Committee during John F. Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign.[18] Edwards currently resides in South Bristol, Maine and Ashburn, Virginia.[19][20]

Other Achievements[edit]

Edwards served as President of the Adjutants General Association of the United States and was a Vice President of the National Guard Association of the United States.[21]


  1. ^ Vermont Birth Records, 1909-2008, entry for Donald Everett Edwards, accessed August 6, 2012
  2. ^ Vermont Secretary of State, Legislative Directory, 1977, pages 103 to 104
  3. ^ Associated Press, Rep. Edwards Elected State Adjutant General, North Adams Transcript, February 20, 1981
  4. ^ Bennington Banner, The Guide Moves to new Location, February 3, 1973
  5. ^ Vermont Secretary of State, Legislative Directory, 1975, page 657
  6. ^ Vermont Secretary of State, Legislative Directory, 1995, page 367
  7. ^ Vermont National Guard, Biographical sketch, Donald E. Edwards, undated, accessed August 6, 2012
  8. ^ Authors review of uniform in official photo of Edwards as Adjutant General, August 6, 2012
  9. ^ Vermont National Guard, Biographical sketch
  10. ^ Vermont General Assembly, Journal of Proceedings, February 20, 1997
  11. ^ Vermont Emergency Management Agency, Annex O, Vermont Emergency Management Plan, 2011, page 1
  12. ^ Deseret News, Guard Commander, February 21, 1997
  13. ^ Boston Globe,Vt. Guard is First Headed by Woman, March 3, 1997
  14. ^ Norman Runnion, Dubie Brothers Are a Hit At Statehouse, Randolph Herald, March 2, 2006
  15. ^ Fox News Channel, Topics and Guests for Monday, July 28, July 28, 2003
  16. ^ Walker Research, SRA International profile, Donald Edwards, 2009
  17. ^ Progressive Policy Institute, Cheney's Terrorists, by Donald Edwards, December 30, 2009
  18. ^ Kerry-Edwards 2004, Press release, 148 Military Brass and Veteran Luminaries Endorse John Kerry for Commander-in-Chief, September 15, 2004
  19. ^ Progressive Policy Institute, Author's profile, Donald Edwards, accessed August 6, 2012
  20. ^ Tom Porter, War Veterans Stump for Climate Change Bill, Maine Public Broadcasting Network, October 8, 2009
  21. ^ SRA, Inc., Press release, Donald Edwards Joins SRA, January 7, 2003
Military offices
Preceded by
Reginald M. Cram
Vermont Adjutant General
Succeeded by
Martha Rainville