Michigan National Guard in Inauguration-Day Ceremony

Written by on January 3, 2019

Author – Andrew Layton

Maj. Gen. Paul D. Rogers assumed duties as adjutant general, Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, in a ceremony following the inauguration of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at the Michigan State Capitol, Lansing, Mich., Jan. 1, 2018.

Approximately 100 friends, family, and members of the Michigan National Guard were on-hand as Whitmer officiated the change of responsibility between Rogers and Lt. Gen. Gregory J. Vadnais, who has served as an adjutant general under the administration of Gov. Rick Snyder since January 2011.

The ceremony was one of Whitmer’s first acts as governor after taking the oath of office that morning.

“The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is an essential organization that must stand ready to defend the nation, respond to natural and manmade disasters here in Michigan, and support critical veteran services in our state,” said Whitmer, addressing Rogers. “I have the fullest confidence that you will bring the character and commitment required to take on the task of leading 11,000 soldiers, airmen, and civilians of the department through any challenge they may face.”

Rogers, Michigan’s 34th adjutant general, brings high credentials and experience to the position.

Commissioned a second lieutenant of engineers in 1987 from Michigan Technical University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps program, he deployed to Iraq in 2005 to form an engineering joint task force of over 1,000 soldiers, marines, and airmen. Most recently, Rogers has served as chief of staff and deputy commander, 46th Military Police Command, Lansing, Mich., tasked with disaster response and consequence management for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear events nationwide.


The Michigan State Capitol during the inauguration of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Lansing, Mich., Jan. 1, 2019 (photo by 1st Lt. Andrew Layton).


The seal of the State of Michigan on the Capitol dais prior to the inauguration of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Lansing, Mich., Jan. 1, 2019 ( photo by 1st Lt. Andrew Layton.


The Michigan National Guard honor guard participates in the inauguration of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Lansing, Mich., Jan. 1, 2019 (photo by Andrew Layton).

Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer and Brig. Gen. Paul Rogers, Michigan National Guard adjutant general (select) arrive at the Capitol dais for Whitmer’s inauguration ceremony, Lansing, Mich., Jan. 1, 2019 (photo by Andrew Layton).


Col. Kevin Bohnsack, state air surgeon, Michigan Air National Guard, escorts Michigan Attorney General-elect Dana Nessel to the Capitol dais at the inauguration of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Lansing, Mich., Jan. 1, 2019 (photo by Andrew Layton).


Rogers is also a Department of the Army civilian professional, serving as a U.S. Army Tier 2 Senior Executive for more than 12 years. In this role, he directs the U.S. Army Research Development Engineering Command – Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center, Warren, Mich., providing advanced technology solutions for all U.S. military ground systems and combat support equipment. He holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering.

“Governor, thank you for this opportunity to serve these men and women,” said Rogers, shortly after accepting the colors of the Michigan National Guard from Whitmer in a symbolic passing of responsibility with Vadnais. “To the airmen and soldiers in this room, and the 11,000 currently serving today, I dedicate myself to you over this tenure; I am here for you, my family is here for you, and we will give our all to you.”

Rogers’ wife of 28 years, Sally, sons Timothy and Nicholas, along with daughter-in-law Kelsey, and grandson Lincoln, were in attendance.

In brief remarks, Vadnais confirmed Roger’s qualifications to lead the Michigan National Guard and offered a quote from President Theodore Roosevelt, which he cited as a guiding beacon through trials of leadership during his tenure as adjutant general.

“Teddy Roosevelt said, ‘It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles…the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…who strives valiantly; who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat;’ Governor, Maj. Gen. Rogers – welcome to the arena,” said Vadnais.


From left: Command Sgt. Maj. Dale Clarmont, Senior Enlisted Advisor, Michigan National Guard, Brig. Gen. Paul Rogers, Michigan National Guard adjutant general (select), Lt. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, Michigan National Guard adjutant general, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, pose before the adjutant general’s change of responsibility ceremony, Lansing, Mich., Jan. 1, 2019 (photo by Andrew Layton).

Lt. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, Michigan National Guard adjutant general, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during the adjutant general change of responsibility ceremony, Lansing, Mich., Jan. 1, 2019 (photo by Andrew Layton).


With the transition of responsibility, Vadnais culminated a distinguished 43-year military career, beginning in 1970 when he joined the Michigan National Guard. He led 14,000 personnel in disaster relief operations following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and had received numerous awards and honors including the Distinguished Service Medal and Legion of Merit.

During the ceremony, Whitmer presented Vadnais with one of the first challenge coins of her administration. Additionally, she acknowledged the twenty-one soldiers from the Michigan National Guard who have given their lives over the last eighteen years of combat operations in the Middle East and affirmed her commitment to the people of the Michigan National Guard as she assumes the role of their Commander-in-Chief.

“Soldiers, Airmen, and civilian members, I thank you for your service, and I ask you to support and enable Maj. Gen. Rogers as he rolls up his sleeves and gets to work,” she said. “I am committed to standing with you in the work that needs to be done, and I will support you as you continue to support and defend our nation and our state.”

The Michigan National Guard had strong participation in Whitmer’s inauguration ceremony including a performance by the 126th Army Band. A 19-gun salute was fired by the 119th Field Artillery, and a flyover of the Capitol was conducted by UH-60 Black Hawks from the 3-328th Aviation Battalion. Airmen and soldiers from the Michigan National Guard also participated in an Honor Guard formation during the presentation of colors and national anthem.


Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, Michigan National Guard adjutant general, speaks during the adjutant general change of responsibility ceremony, as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer looks on, Lansing, Mich., Jan. 1, 2019 (photo by Andrew Layton).


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