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Brigadier General’s Promotion Makes West Virginia History

Col. Michaelle M. Munger was promoted to the rank of Brig. Gen. at Joint Forces Headquarters, Charleston, West Virginia, Dec. 2, 2021. Munger became the first female general officer in the history of the West Virginia Army National Guard and will serve as Special Assistant to the Adjutant General for the West Virginia National Guard. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Edwin L. Wriston)

CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Army National Guard celebrated history Thursday, when Col. Michaelle M. Munger was promoted to the rank of brigadier general, making her the first woman to become a general officer for the West Virginia Army National Guard in state history.

Maj. Gen. Bill Crane, The Adjutant General of West Virginia, presided over the ceremony at the WVNG headquarters in Charleston.

“Michaelle shines as a leader and mentor. She has a tremendous reserve of energy and enthusiasm which she brings to bear every single day,” Crane said. “Soldiers know competent leaders when they see them, and Michaelle exudes competence, professionalism, integrity, and is one of the best communicators I have ever had the honor of serving with.

“While it is significant that she has become the first ever female general officer for the West Virginia Army National Guard, it is her truest qualities as a leader that we honor and recognize today,” he continued.

Munger will serve as Special Assistant to the Adjutant General of West Virginia in her new role.

She will assist with special projects, mentorship, inclusion and diversity initiatives and leadership development within the WVNG.

Munger has served in every component of the U.S. Army — active duty, U.S. Army Reserves, and the Army National Guard. She was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1994 and has served in various roles of increasing responsibility, including working for the National Guard Bureau and at the Pentagon.

Her recent assignments include Associate Director, Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment/Facilities Investment and Management; and as Deputy Director, Real Property Maintenance, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness, Programming and Resources. Munger served from August 2017 to August 2019 as the director of joint operations for the WVNG and as the first female brigade commander for WVARNG at the 77th Brigade Troop Command.

While Munger is the first female general officer in the history of the West Virginia Army National Guard, she follows in the footsteps of Brig. Gen. Paige P. Hunter, who was promoted to brigadier general in 2016, upon assuming command of the West Virginia Air National Guard.

“Today is an incredible day,” said Munger. “I am tremendously excited that Gov. (Jim) Justice and Maj. Gen. Crane have the confidence and faith in me to give me this opportunity. I feel blessed to be here. Attaining high rank in the military, whether as an officer or in the enlisted corps, requires hard and focused effort; it is a long-road and it is not easy. But it is achievable for any Soldier or Airman and today proves that.”

Munger feels that having a female perspective and female voice at the table is an importantelement in promoting Army values.

“Having a female voice at the table is critical in strengthening our National Guard,” she said.

“What we bring to the mission is unique not because we are females, but because of our ability to approach the mission in perhaps a different perspective and viewpoint. Additionally, by being at the table, we can display our competency and capabilities, and to dispel stereotypes to help younger soldiers not face the same gender-related limitations and hurdles we might have faced in our own careers. Every soldier needs to be heard and judged based not on their sex, but by their ideas and vision.”

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