COLCHESTER — The head of the Vermont National Guard said Tuesday he’s thrilled and honored to be taking a new job with the organization that oversees the defense of North America, but he will be sorry to leave the men and women he has served with for more than 30 years.
Maj. Gen. Michael Dubie said it would probably be late summer before he leaves Vermont for his new position in Colorado as the deputy commander of the United States Northern Command. That will give him two more months to spend with the soldiers and airmen and women of the Vermont guard.
Speaking at Vermont guard headquarters at Camp Johnson in Colchester, Dubie said he was leaving the guard in good shape. Much of the Vermont guard has been outfitted with new equipment, it is near full strength and the guard has responded, when called upon, be it during combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan or helping Vermont respond to and begin the recovery from Tropical Storm Irene.
“The level of service that the men and women of the Vermont National Guard have demonstrated over the last several years is what I am most proud of,” Dubie said. “We have stepped up to every challenge, whether here at home or overseas and I will be proud of that accomplishment, that level of service, for the rest of my life.”
Last week, the U.S. Senate confirmed Dubie to the Northern Command post and promoted him from a two-star to three-star general. Dubie said he knew of no other Vermont guard member to be promoted to three-star, or lieutenant general.
The Northern Command was created following the 9/11 attacks to protect U.S. territory and provide military support for civil authorities in the event of a national emergency. It also oversees the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
Dubie, 52, joined the Vermont guard in 1979 as a second lieutenant out of the University of Vermont. He transferred to the Air Guard two years later.
When Dubie was a young fighter pilot for the Vermont guard, he used to fly missions for NORAD to intercept Soviet bombers flying along the East Coast. “In many ways I feel I am returning to my roots,” he said.
The appointment is expected to last two years, although it could be extended.
Dubie became adjutant general in 2006 after his predecessor resigned to run for Congress. During his six years in the post, he’s overseen combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and he said it’s time for a change.
“Every organization needs new leadership from time to time,” he said.
The toughest part of the job has been dealing with families of guard members.
“We had our combat deaths, but we’ve also got other issues. We have wounded soldiers. We’ve got some family issues that continue. That’s the toughest part of my job,” he said. “It would be accurate to say it’s the toughest part, but it’s also the part I take the most inspiration from, is the way our families have dealt with the sacrifice and the loss.”
While the guard members signed up to serve, their families didn’t, he said. “A lot of these families didn’t get a vote in the process. So it’s our job to do everything we can to support the families, especially in the tough times.”
Dubie will temporarily be replaced by Brig. Gen. Tom Drew. Next winter, the Legislature will pick Dubie’s permanent replacement.MORE IN Vermont NewsMONTPELIER — As his July 15 moving date nears, Jeremy Dodge's seller's remorse has begun to... Full Story
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