First Woman To Lead Delaware National Guard Takes Command

On Sunday, February 12th, Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala stepped down after 18 years as Adjutant General and Brig. Gen. Carol Timmons was promoted to Maj. Gen. and then take command of the Delaware National Guard. The ceremony took place at 2:00 p.m. at Army Aviation Support Facility, 33 Corporate Circle in New Castle.

Maj. Gen. Carol Timmons is sworn in by Gov. John C. Carney Jr.As Adjutant General, Timmons is Governor Carney’s chief military adviser and responsible for ensuring the Delaware National Guard is fully trained, equipped, and ready to respond to federal mobilization requirements and state emergency operations. She served as the Assistant Adjutant General, Air since January 2012 and is Delaware’s first female two-star general and Adjutant General.

Timmons has nearly 40 years military experience to include service in both the Delaware Army and Air National Guard. She began her career in 1977 as a law enforcement apprentice with the Delaware National Guard’s 166th Security Forces Squadron. Subsequently, she served as a helicopter pilot in the Army National Guard, a C-141 pilot in the Air Force Reserve, and a C-130 pilot in the Air National Guard. General Timmons is a veteran of numerous overseas combat operations and a member of the Delaware Women’s and Aviation Halls of Fame.

Maj. Gen. Francis Vavala was the longest currently serving Adjutant General in the United States and retires after 50 years military service. He assumed the duties as the Adjutant General, Delaware, on February 1, 1999. He began his military career in 1967, when he enlisted as a private in the Delaware National Guard. In 1970, Vavala received his commission as a Second Lieutenant from the Delaware Military Academy Officer Candidate School.

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In addition to holding dozens of leadership positions in the Delaware Guard, he held prominent national positions as President, Adjutant Generals Association of the United States (AGAUS) and Chairman of the Board, National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS). During his tenure as Chairman of the Board, NGAUS was the main driver responsible for passing one of the most significant pieces of military legislation in a generation – the National Guard Empowerment Act.

He provided key testimony before the House Armed Services Committee and in January 2012, Delaware’s 146th General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution 10, recognizing Vavala for his leading role in helping to reshape the United States military.

He is from a proud military family, having served with both his father, Brigadier General Francis P. Vavala, and brother, Master Sergeant Gerard Vavala. Before serving as Adjutant General, he retired from DuPont, where he was employed as a Marketing Services Supervisor. Vavala was honored as the Saint Anthony of Padua Youth Activities Council Man of the Year in 1985, and inducted into the Salesianum Hall of Fame in 2003.

Image Credits: Staff Sgt. John Michaels