Change of command for Army Guard
Brig. Gen. Joseph J. Chaves took command of the Hawai'i Army National Guard during a ceremony yesterday attended by hundreds of soldiers, state officials and military leaders.
Chaves takes over for Brig. Gen. Vern T. Miyagi, who oversaw the state Army National Guard for three years, said Maj. Charles Anthony, a spokesman for the Hawai'i National Guard.
Chaves is in charge of overall training and equipping of the National Guard troops, which include the 29th Separate Infantry Brigade, the 111th Army Band, the 103rd Troop Command and the 298th Regional Training Institute.
At the ceremony, Miyagi passed the colors of the Hawai'i Army National Guard to state adjutant general Maj. Gen. Robert Lee, who then gave them to Chaves.
"Even though uniforms and people will change over the years, the colors will remain a constant," Anthony said. "They're a symbolic reminder of the heritage of the National Guard."
Miyagi will take on a new role handling reserve affairs with the U.S. Pacific Command, Anthony said.
Gov. Linda Lingle and Lee spoke highly of Miyagi's accomplishments, from his days as a lieutenant to a military career that included most of the positions of authority in the Hawai'i Army National Guard.
Lingle presented him with a state award, the Distinguished Service Order, Anthony said.
Chaves' most recent job was as the commander for the 29th Separate Infantry Brigade, and he will retain that post.
Five out of every six soldiers in the Hawai'i Army National Guard have been mobilized for active duty to locations including Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 18 months, Anthony said.
They have all returned to Hawai'i. The last 60 soldiers came home April 4, Anthony said.
"For those groups that have been mobilized, we would not anticipate having them mobilized again within the next five years or more," he said.