World more dangerous than it has been since World War II, according to the new head of the Alabama National Guard

Brigadier General David Pritchett, a native of Alabama and a graduate of Auburn University, was officially appointed as the new adjutant general of the Alabama National Guard during a change of command ceremony in Montgomery on Friday.

Pritchett has assumed the leadership role previously held by Major General Sheryl Gordon, who retired after a distinguished tenure of over six years as adjutant general.

After beginning his military journey with the Marine Corps in 1988, Pritchett is coming back to his home state. He previously held positions as the director of the Joint Staff of the Wyoming National Guard and as a deputy commanding general for field artillery at the Fires Center for Excellence at Fort Sill.

Hundreds of people, including National Guard members, former members, public officials, and others, gathered to witness the flag presentations that marked the transition of leadership. Gordon, Pritchett, and Gov. Kay Ivey were among those who participated in the program.

In 2017, Ivey, who held the position of commander in chief of the National Guard, appointed Gordon as adjutant general. Later, when Gordon announced her retirement in November, Ivey selected Pritchett as her replacement.

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During an interview prior to the ceremony and in his remarks to the crowd, Pritchett discussed the challenges that America faces in managing its relationship with China, Russia, and the increasing instability in the Middle East.

According to Pritchett, the current state of the world is extremely perilous. He believes that the scale of events unfolding today is unprecedented, surpassing anything witnessed in his lifetime and even preceding World War II.

Pritchett’s primary objective is to ensure that the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard, which consist of around 12,000 soldiers and airmen, are prepared to promptly respond to any situation.

According to Pritchett, it is crucial that we prioritize the training and equipping of our soldiers, airmen, and their families. This responsibility extends to both domestic operations and fighting and winning our nation’s wars overseas. Pritchett’s main objective is to ensure that our military personnel and their loved ones receive the necessary care and support.

Pritchett emphasized that recruiting is one of the Alabama National Guard’s key strengths. He also highlighted the importance of expanding the force structure, which involves adding more platoons, companies, and job opportunities for soldiers and airmen.

According to Pritchett, the Alabama National Guard currently has more soldiers than available spots. In fact, they are over 100% strength, which means there is a need for additional units to accommodate these soldiers.

“The flip side to that is that states not recruiting as effectively may end up losing their force structure. Therefore, we must engage in discussions to ensure that Alabama has the appropriate structure to provide additional jobs for our soldiers and airmen here.”

Ivey commended Gordon for her dedicated service and warmly welcomed Pritchett back to the state.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the 12,000 dedicated men and women, along with their supportive families, who serve as protectors and defenders of the state. She emphasized the important role they play in the United States military mission readiness.

Gordon’s retirement signifies the conclusion of a military career that began in April 1980. Throughout her remarks at the ceremony, Gordon repeatedly referred to the National Guard as her “family.”

“Today marks an incredibly exhilarating moment for the Alabama National Guard,” expressed Gordon with enthusiasm. “We are thrilled to welcome an exceptional new leader who will now oversee the remarkable organization that I have had the honor of leading for the past six and a half years. This is not only a momentous occasion for us as individuals, but also for our esteemed guard family in the state of Alabama.”

Gordon made history as the first woman to hold the position of adjutant general for the Alabama National Guard.

“I often forget that I’m a woman because I have this soldier mindset,” Gordon expressed. However, she firmly believes that her example will inspire more women to climb to the highest positions of leadership.”

Gordon expressed her satisfaction in working closely with young female soldiers, both officers and enlisted personnel. She emphasized the importance of engaging in conversations, providing guidance, and leading by example. Gordon firmly believes in serving as a role model to inspire and assure these women that they are capable of achieving great things in their military careers.

During her time as adjutant general, Gordon takes pride in the development of a closer working relationship between the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard. Both branches fall under her command as adjutant general.

Gordon mentioned that the Alabama National Guard has strengthened its collaboration with Romania, which initially began as a military-to-military exchange three decades ago. The purpose of this partnership was to support Romania’s journey towards becoming a member of both NATO and the European Union. During the ceremony, officials from Romania were acknowledged and honored by the audience.

Gordon expressed that they have been actively engaged in humanitarian efforts with them, focusing on constructing schools and training camps. In return, they have received assistance from their partners, who have trained with them and even provided support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gordon emphasized the importance of further strengthening this relationship, not only in the military realm but also in the civilian and educational sectors.

Gordon advised Pritchett to prioritize the well-being of his family.

“And I want to emphasize the importance of both the Guard family and his personal family,” Gordon expressed. “They will ensure that you are well taken care of. We are incredibly fortunate to have such exceptional airmen and soldiers within our organization. I often speak about the concept of servant leadership, and having known General Pritchett for a significant period, I am confident that he embodies this mindset and will lead our organization to even greater achievements.”

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