Lt. Gen. William Ingram, the Army National Guard's top officer, was honored Tuesday as he prepares to retire after more than 40 years of service. (SFC Jim Greenhill/Army National Guard)
The Army National Guard’s top officer was honored Tuesday as he prepares to retire after more than 40 years of service.
Lt. Gen. William Ingram has been the director of the Army Guard since November 2011.
Gen. Frank Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau, hosted the retirement ceremony in Ingram’s honor. The ceremony took place at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va.
Ingram had “an amazing career,” Grass said in a Facebook post today, noting that when Ingram was adjutant general of the North Carolina National Guard, he oversaw that state’s largest mobilization since World War II, of about 20,000 Guardsmen.
Maj. Gen. Judd Lyons, a former adjutant general of the Nebraska National Guard who has served as deputy director of the Army Guard since July, will step in as the acting director until a permanent replacement is named and confirmed.
The director of the Army Guard is responsible for formulating, developing and coordinating programs, policies and plans affecting the component’s 350,000 soldiers.
Ingram, who was the adjutant general of the North Carolina Guard for more than nine years, served as special assistant to the Army vice chief of staff before he was confirmed for the Army Guard’s top job.
His experience includes commanding forces in Croatia, Macedonia and Kosovo.
Ingram is retiring at a critical time of transition for the Army Guard and the Army as a whole.
Faced with budget cuts after more than 12 years of war, the Army Guard faces potential end-strength cuts and sweeping reorganization among its primary formations.
At the same time, the active Army is cutting 80,000 soldiers from its ranks and may have to cut even more as the full impact of sequestration takes hold.
The debate about who might absorb further, even deeper cuts has come to a head publicly, as proponents for the National Guard push to preserve the Army Guard’s formations.
On Monday, just a day before Ingram’s retirement ceremony, the National Guard Association of the United States blasted Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno for remarks he made during a recent news briefing at the National Press Club.
Retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, president of NGAUS, called Odierno’s remarks “disrespectful and simply not true,” and said Odierno “disparaged the Army National Guard last week by telling reporters in Washington, D.C., that, essentially, the Army National Guard just isn’t good enough to be relied upon more in the future.”
During his briefing, Odierno said the Guard would not be capable of taking on more of the active-duty force’s responsibilities if the active Army force structure falls much below the 490,000 floor that the chief set for 2015.
“The capabilities are not interchangeable,” Odierno said. “There’s a reason why the active component is more expensive. It brings you a higher level of readiness, because they’re full time.”
In a statement, Army spokesman George Wright said the Army values the contributions of all three components and what the “Total Army” has accomplished over the past 13 years of war.
“All three components are critical and complementary to each other,” Wright said. “However, we must adjust our force structure among all three components to balance end-strength, readiness and modernization to provide the best Army possible for our nation in the future both at home and abroad. Discussions on these important issues have and will continue to include senior officials from all three components.”