Gov. Justice hosts virtual Change of Command ceremony for West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY)- Gov. Jim Justice held a virtual Change of Command ceremony to announce that Brig. Gen. William E. “Bill” Crane has officially assumed the duties, roles, and responsibilities as The Adjutant General for the West Virginia National Guard, effective Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

“General, it goes without saying, that I have all the faith in the world in your abilities to be able to lead our men and women, and to take that leadership role and run with it,” Gov. Justice said. “You’ll do unbelievable, without any doubt in my mind whatsoever. Your credentials are impeccable. You have all the right stuff and, without any question, I am confident beyond belief that you’re going to do an incredible job.”

Crane is taking over command from Maj. Gen. James A. Hoyer, who is retiring from active service after 37 years in uniform (1983-2020). Hoyer has served as Adjutant General since 2011 when he was appointed to the position by then Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.

“General Hoyer has been with us for a good while, and what an incredible job he’s done,” Gov. Justice said. “I’ve seen him in action so many times. I’ve had the great opportunity to work with him…I can remember, General, you in the derecho, I can remember, General, you in the terrible flood of 2016. I saw you and I’ve seen exactly what our great National Guard has done.”

In recognition of his leadership and years of service to his state and nation, Maj. Gen. Hoyer was honored with the WVNG’s West Virginia Distinguished Service Medal today. The award was presented by Gov. Justice.

“It’s my honor to lead this transition between these two really great men,” Gov. Justice said. “They’re great husbands, great dads, and great West Virginians.”

“I am honored to assume the responsibilities of Adjutant General for our great Mountain State and cannot begin to thank Governor Justice and General Hoyer for the trust and confidence they have placed in me to lead this incredible organization into the future,” Brig. Gen. Crane said.

“The true heroes are the men and women in uniform, our civilian workforce and our retirees who make up our One Guard family, who are on the front lines today and every day defending our nation and our state,” Crane continued. “It is my honor to represent them and to command one of the most well respected and proven military forces in the world.”

Originally from Friendly, West Virginia in Tyler County, Crane has served in uniform for 36 years, joining the West Virginia Army National Guard in 1984 as a vehicle driver for the 1092nd Engineer Battalion. He simultaneously served in the 1092nd while attending West Virginia University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps program, and continued in that unit for decades, serving in a wide variety of leadership roles.

During his outstanding career, Crane has been assigned to various functional mission areas to include joint operations, intelligence, human resources and personnel management, recruiting and retention, and logistics, including overseas in combat zones and as a part of the National Guard Bureau headquarters staff as the United States Property and Fiscal Officer in West Virginia.

In his most recent assignments, Crane served as a chief of staff for the West Virginia Army National Guard, commander for the 111th Engineer Brigade and as Director of the Joint Staff. He has also served as a chemist in his civilian career and holds multiple patents for his work.

Crane was promoted to brigadier general in March at a ceremony in Charleston overseen by Hoyer.

“I greatly appreciate not just your commitment and sacrifice to the Guard over the years, but how you always stepped up and took on challenges when they needed to be taken on,” Hoyer said to Crane during the ceremony.

When asked about his replacement, Hoyer was quick to offer praise