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Vaughn takes reins of Army National Guard

By Master Sgt. Bob Haskell

ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, June 23, 2005) – Several hundred Army National Guard Soldiers welcomed their new leaders with a standing ovation during a morning ceremony at the Army Guard’s Readiness Center June 20.

Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn, a veteran of more than 30 years of military service, assumed the duties as the 18th director of the Army Guard during a Transfer of Authority ritual.

Command Sgt. Maj. John Gipe officially stepped into the job as the eighth command sergeant major of the Army Guard. He will serve as Vaughn’s senior enlisted advisor.

Vaughn and Gipe took the torch as the top Soldiers for this country’s 331,000-member Army Guard force that is heavily engaged in the Global War on Terrorism.

Gen. Richard Cody, the Army’s vice chief of staff, promoted Vaughn to his three-star rank at the Pentagon June 15. President George W. Bush approved Vaughn’s nomination on April 19 and the U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment on May 26.

“We have a great team. This is going to be seamless. You’re going to get the same steady, caring leadership that you’ve come to enjoy and respect and deserve from Lt. Gen. Roger Schultz and Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Lever,” Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, told the audience who attended a town meeting and the Transfer of Authority ceremony that Blum hosted.

Vaughn, who comes from Missouri, took on the position of Army Guard director from Pennsylvania Maj. Gen. Walter Pudlowski Jr. who has served as acting director since Lt. Gen. Schultz ended his seven-year tour of duty on May 24. Schultz, from Iowa, was the longest-serving Army Guard director since the creation of separate Army and Air components within the National Guard Bureau in 1947.

Gipe, formerly the state command sergeant major for Kentucky, succeeded Command Sgt. Maj. A. Frank Lever III from South Carolina who has held the Army Guard’s top enlisted post since January 2001.

“It’s a privilege to serve. I have the utmost respect for the people I’m following into this position,” said Vaughn who has served as the assistant for National Guard matters to Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, since November 2003.

“The way ahead is that we’re going to do what’s right for America against the biggest threat that we’ve got,” added Vaughn about the multiple roles the Army Guard is filling in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and about its responsibilities to safeguard American citizens from terrorist attacks and during domestic emergencies in this country.

Vaughn is no stranger to those tasks. He was the Army Guard’s deputy director, under Schultz, from September 2002 until he reported for duty to Myers. Vaughn was the Army’s deputy director for operations, readiness and mobilization for 31 months before that.

“We know that we’ve got to be able to do a whole lot of things in a whole lot of places rapidly,” Vaughn said.

Gipe has recently returned from a three-month tour to observe Guard Soldiers who are serving overseas.

“We deliberately sent him down range to Afghanistan and Iraq and Kuwait and Qatar to make sure that he knows what our men and women and facing when they go over there and what their needs are and what their concerns are,” explained Blum.

“I’ve always liked a challenge, and this is about the biggest challenge I’ll ever find,” said Gipe about becoming the Army National Guard’s newest enlisted leader.

(Editor’s note: Master Sgt. Bob Haskell writes for the National Guard Bureau)

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