You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Challenges await incoming Vt. Guard chief

Feb. 21, 2013 - 03:06PM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 21, 2013 - 03:06PM  |  
Vermont Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Steven Cray is congratulated in the Vermont House on Feb. 21 in Montpelier, Vt. Cray will be the state's next adjutant general. Cray was elected to the post Feb. 21 by a joint assembly of the Vermont Legislature.
Vermont Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Steven Cray is congratulated in the Vermont House on Feb. 21 in Montpelier, Vt. Cray will be the state's next adjutant general. Cray was elected to the post Feb. 21 by a joint assembly of the Vermont Legislature. (Toby Talbot / The Associated Press)
  • Filed Under

MONTPELIER, Vt. Just moments after being elected as the next adjutant general of the Vermont National Guard, Brig. Gen. Steven Cray said Thursday some Guard employees were being prepared for the possibility they could be furloughed several days a month if a series of automatic federal budget cuts are imposed as now scheduled.

Cray is set to assume command of the Vermont Guard on March 1, the same day the Department of Defense is preparing for the so-called sequestration, a series of congressionally mandated budget cuts that could shorten the workweek for many of the department's civilian employees across the country and in Vermont.

"Our nation is obviously facing some difficult times, and decisions are going to have to be made. Sequestration is the looming financial threat, if you will," Cray said Thursday outside the House chamber in Montpelier moments after his overwhelming election as adjutant general by a joint session of the House and Senate.

"We're going to have to prioritize our missions that we do every day for our nation's defense as well as being prepared here locally to respond," Cray said. "It's going to challenge us to look at all the priorities that we have and make some tough choices."

Cray said the details of those tough choices are being worked out.

Vermont is the only state in the country where the Legislature elects the adjutant general, the leader of the state Guard. For the past several months Cray and other candidates lobbied lawmakers for support.

Cray, of Essex Junction, is a 30-year member of the Guard and a longtime F-16 fighter pilot. He is currently the deputy adjutant general.

Cray will succeed Maj. Gen. Thomas Drew, who assumed the job last summer after Michael Dubie resigned to take a Homeland Security job.

On Thursday, before Cray's election, the names of two other Guard officers, Army Guard Col. Darryl Ducharme and retired Col. Michael Bullock, were placed into nomination. There was a fourth name on the printed ballot given to lawmakers, South Burlington attorney James Marc Leas, who is not a member of the Guard and ran as an opponent of the possibility the Air Force could send assign the next generation fighter plane, the F-35, to Vermont. Leas was not nominated from the floor.

The Vermont National Guard has about 3,000 members of the Army Guard and 1,000 members of the Air National Guard.

The Air Force has said it would like to assign F-35s, the plane that will replace fleets of aging F-16s, to the Vermont Guard. The possibility has provoked vocal opposition from some the number of opponents is unclear who feel the plane is too loud for the area around the Burlington International Airport in South Burlington, the home of the Vermont air guard.

Gov. Peter Shumlin, the entire congressional delegation, business groups and others support the F-35.

Cray said he hoped the Air Force would choose Vermont as home to the F-35 and the guard remains committed to easing concerns from the public.

"Obviously, basing the F-35 for the Vermont Air National Guard is critically important to the future of our Air Guard, a relevant mission that we need to continue for 30 to 40 years into the future," Cray said. "We have and will continue to work with our community partners. We are part of the community."

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Army Times

This Week's Army Times

CrossFit vs. unit PT
Troops will do the training plans in a $2.5 million study

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook