Francis D. Vavala

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Francis D. Vavala
Francis D. Vavala (3).jpg
Maj. Gen. Francis D. Vavala
Born (1947-06-28) June 28, 1947 (age 70)
Delaware
Allegiance
Service/branch
Years of service 1967–2017
Rank

Army-USA-OF-09.svg General (Delaware)

Army-USA-OF-07.svg Major General (ARNG)

General Francis D. Vavala is a retired Army National Guard officer who served as the Adjutant General of the State of Delaware. He received the promotion in February 1999 after the retirement of Major General George Hastings.[1] In January 2017, Vavala was promoted to Lieutenant General. In April 2017, Vavala was promoted to General in honor of 50 years of service. He is the first Delaware National Guardsman to achieve four-star rank.

As the Adjutant General, Vavala was the highest-ranking member of the Delaware National Guard. He was responsible for managing the affairs of the Army and Air National Guard and for advising Governor of the State of Delaware, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Guard.[2]

Early life and family[edit]

Vavala was born on June 28, 1947, in Elsmere, Delaware, the son of Frank and Nell Vavala. Vavala was raised with two other siblings, brother SFC (Sergeant First Class) Gerard P. Vavala and sister Cissy E. Vavala-Gouert.[3] He graduated from Salesianum School in 1965.[4]

Vavala and his wife Jane reside in New Castle County, Delaware. They have a son, two daughters and three grandchildren. Before he was appointed as Adjutant General he was employed by DuPont as a Marketing Services Supervisor.[5]

Military career[edit]

Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala presents an Iraqi army graduate of the Baghdad Signal University his diploma upon graduation at Camp Victory, Baghdad, Iraq, in 2009. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Mike Crilley.)
Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala speaks with service members before the dedication of a WWII memorial at Legislative Hall in Dover, Delaware, November 9, 2013. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brendan Mackie.)
Gen. Frank Grass and Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala meet with Dale Earnhardt Jr. prior to the start of NASCAR's AAA 400 race at the Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware, September 29, 2013. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brendan Mackie.)

Vavala enlisted as a private (E-1) in the Delaware Army National Guard in March 1967. He was commissioned in June 1970 after completing the Delaware Military Academy Officer Candidate School. Vavala has held a series of key command and staff positions. Prior to his assignment as the Adjutant General, he served in the following key assignments: Corps Tactical Operations Center Platoon Leader, Company A 198th Signal Battalion (United States); Company Commander, Company C 198th Signal Battalion; Executive Officer (XO) and Battalion Commander, 198th Signal Battalion; Operations Officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, Delaware Army National Guard; Communications Systems Engineer, Wire Communications Technical Engineer, Traffic Officer, Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander, 261st Theater Tactical Signal Brigade (United States); Commander, Troop Command; Director of Plans, Operations, Training, and Military Support, Deputy Commander, and Assistant Adjutant General, State Area Command Headquarters, Delaware Army National Guard. From February 1999 to February 2017 the Adjutant General, Delaware National guard.[5]

2005 Base Realignment and Closure[edit]

Vavala lobbied against the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission's recommendation to remove all the C-130 Hercules aircraft from the New Castle Air National Guard Base to bases in North Carolina and Georgia. Vavala worked with local elected officials and military leaders to stop the removal of these aircraft which would have effectively shut down the 166th Airlift Wing.[6][7]

National Guard Defense Enhancement and National Guard Empowerment Act (H.R. 5200 and S. 2658)[edit]

As the Vice President and then President of the Adjutants General Association of the United States (AGAUS) and the Chairman of the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) Vavala worked for the passage of what is known as the National Guard Empowerment Act. This act allows the National Guard chief, a four-star general, to be designated as member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[8] The bill was introduced by Sen. Christopher S. Bond, R-Missouri, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont. On June 13, 2006, Vavala spoke before the House Armed Services Committee. He said in part:

We do not accept the premise that all good ideas relating to the National Guard are reserved for the Department of Defense. We don't want to confront the DoD-we want to work with them. We also want our Chief, Lieutenant General H Steven Blum, to be permitted to fulfill the role of Chief, National Guard Bureau, which is to serve as the link of communication between the states and DoD. Just as Air Force commanders and Army division commanders, the Adjutants General are the best source for information about organizational health and readiness. Lieutenant General Blum is the most competent senior official in the nation to deal with the health and future of the entire National Guard institution.[9]

On January 26, 2012, the Delaware House of Representatives 146th General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution No. 10 recognizing Vavala for his leading role in reshaping the Military of the United States of America.[10]

War on Terror[edit]

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the role of the National Guard in American defense policy changed as National Guard units were regularly deployed overseas.[11]

"Prior to that, we were almost pigeonholed as a strategic reserve of the Army and Air Force. We've shifted to an operational force, a really indispensable force; this force that the Army and the Air Force need to be able to do their missions."

— Francis D. Vavala[11]

Vavala was in command when units of the Delaware Army and Air National Guard were integrated with active duty forces in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Kyrgyzstan.[12]

Domestic operations[edit]

Hurricane Katrina[edit]

On August 31, 2005, "Task Force Delaware" composed of the 166th Security Forces of the Delaware Air National and the 153rd Military Police Company (United States) of the Delaware Army Guard deployed to Gulfport, Mississippi in response to Hurricane Katrina. These were the first of over four hundred members of the Delaware Guard who, under the direction of the Delaware Guard leadership and local authorities, participated in relief efforts on the Gulf Coast.[13]

Hurricane Gustav[edit]

When Hurricane Gustav hit Louisiana on September 1, 2008, the Delaware Air National Guard evacuated 285 hospital patients from potentially dangerous areas in Louisiana and Texas. The Delaware Air and Army National Guard sent two Black Hawk helicopters, communications and search and rescue specialists, as well as a Joint Enabling Team (JET).[14]

War on Hunger[edit]

Vavala initiated a program entitled the "War on Hunger" in December 2008 which placed food donation sites in all Delaware Army and Air National Guard facilities as well as National Guard supported events. Food collected through this program is delivered to the Food Bank of Delaware to help feed families at risk in Delaware.[15]

Honors[edit]

1985
St. Anthony Of Padua Youth Activities Council Man of the Year Award.
1992
E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, Chestnut Run Plaza Work/Life Award.
2003
Salesianum School Hall of Fame.[4]
2005
Columbus Day Communion Breakfast Committee, Italian American of the Year.[5]

Civic affiliations[edit]

National Guard Association of Delaware, Association of the United States Army (AUSA), Knights of Columbus, Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States, Warrant Officer Association of the United States, Air Force Association (AFA), Signal Corps Regimental Association, Delaware Medal of Honor Historical Association, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), the American Legion and the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR).[5]

Education[edit]

In 1984 Vavala received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Wilmington University. His military education includes the signal officer basic and advanced courses and the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.[5]

Dates of rank[edit]

Insignia Rank Component Dates
US-O1 insignia.svg
Second Lieutenant USAR 20 Jun 1970
US-O2 insignia.svg
First Lieutenant ARNG 19 Jun 1973
US-O3 insignia.svg
Captain ARNG 19 Jul 1975
US-O4 insignia.svg
Major ARNG 19 Jul 1979
US-O5 insignia.svg
Lieutenant Colonel ARNG 29 Sep 1983
US-O6 insignia.svg
Colonel ARNG 15 Dec 1987
US-O7 insignia.svg
Brigadier General ARNG 20 Jun 1995
US-O8 insignia.svg
Major General ARNG 31 Mar 2000
US-O9 insignia.svg
Lieutenant General DE 7 Jan 2017
US-O10 insignia.svg
General DE 1 Apr 2017

Awards and decorations[edit]

US-Signal-Corps-DUI.png Army Signal Corps Distinctive Unit Insignia
Legion of Merit
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
Silver oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with one silver and two bronze oak leaf clusters
Bronze star
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal with two service stars
Armed Forces Reserve Medal with gold and bronze hourglass devices
Army Service Ribbon
Delaware National Guard
Delaware Conspicuous Service Cross
Award numeral 5.png Delaware Medal for Military Merit with bronze award numeral 5
Award numeral 2.png Delaware National Defense Service Ribbon with award numeral 2
Award numeral 6.png Delaware Medal for Service in Aid to Civil Authority with award numeral 6
Delaware Recruiting Ribbon
Award numeral 6.png Delaware Physical Fitness Ribbon with award numeral 6
Delaware National Guard Unit Strength Award

Image gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Resume Of Service Career Of George Kenneth Hastings, Major General, (ARNGUS) Retired effective Jan 31, 1999". ng.mil. 2006. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Section 171: Governor As Commander In Chief; Call Out Of National Guard For State Duty". Delaware Administrative Code. State of Delaware. 2012. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Gerard P. Vavala". Cape Gazaette. Lewes, Delaware. February 9, 2006. p. 18. 
  4. ^ a b "Prominent Alumni". Salesianum School. 2010. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "The Adjutant General". DelawareNationalGuard.com. Delaware National Guard. August 18, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  6. ^ Basiourt, Angie (November 26, 2009). "Delaware base rebirth follows BRAC battle". The News-Journal. Wilmington, Delaware. Archived from the original on November 26, 2009. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  7. ^ Volturo, Drew (August 27, 2005). "Delaware officials pleased with BRAC Commission's decision.". Delaware State News. Dover, Delaware. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  8. ^ "National Guard Empowerment Now Law of the Land" (Press release). National Guard Association of the U.S. January 3, 2012. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Testimony Of Major General Francis D. Vavala Vice - President Adjutants General Association Of The United States (AGAUS) Armed Services Committee U.S. House Of Representatives June 13, 2006" (PDF). National Guard Association of the United States. 
  10. ^ "House Joint Resolution No. 10 Recognizing Major General Francis D. Vavala For His Leading Role In Reshaping The Military Of The United States Of America.". State of Delaware Legislature. 2012. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Denison, Doug (September 11, 2011). "Attacks on America pushed Delaware National Guard into global role". The News-Journal. Wilmington, Delaware: Gannet. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  12. ^ Yearick, Bob (June 10, 2011). "Delaware's National Guard and Air Guard Members: Serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait". Delaware Today. Today Media, Inc. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  13. ^ Matwey, Tech. Sgt. Benjamin (August 23, 2006). "Hurricane Katrina recollections". delawarenationalguard.com. Delaware National Guard -. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  14. ^ Lotrionte, Nicolette (September 8, 2008). "Delaware among leaders in hurricane aid". The Review. Newark, Delaware. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  15. ^ Gates, Staff Sgt. William (April 15, 2011). "Public invited to fight war on hunger" (Press release). Delaware National Guard. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 

References[edit]

Broomall, Hugh T., (1999). Integration of the National Guard into the Total Force. Thesis. United States Army War College, Pennsylvania.

Kim, Suzanne M., (2007). Applying New Institutionalism to the National Guard Empowerment Act. M. Sc Thesis. Naval Postgraduate School, California.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
George Hastings
Adjutant General of the State of Delaware
1999–2017
Succeeded by
Carol Timmons