West Virginia Public Broadcasting Published

Bill Crane Takes Over As Adjutant General For W.Va. National Guard

William E. "Bill" Crane

The West Virginia National Guard announced its newest leader Monday, while honoring its outgoing adjutant general of the last decade.

Brig. Gen. William E. “Bill” Crane will lead the state’s 6,500-member guard, consisting of citizen soldiers and airmen. Crane’s new role will include supervision of the guard’s day-to-day operations, in addition to the overall management of resources and personnel.

“We have a tremendous team,” Crane said during a virtual Change of Command ceremony Monday. “During this pandemic response, I’ve seen the Army and the Air Guard come together as one guard, one guard that includes our service members, their families, our retirees [and] our civilian workforce, both state and federal.”

Crane joined the National Guard in 1984, through the ROTC program and West Virginia University. He was promoted to Brigadier General in March, having started 36 years earlier as a vehicle driver for the 1092nd Engineer Battalion.

Crane is taking over after Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, who announced his own retirement in November. Hoyer promoted Crane to his latest rank in March.

Hoyer joined the West Virginia National Guard in 1983 through a joint ROTC program with West Virginia State University. Hoyer was promoted to adjutant general in 2011.

During Monday’s ceremony, Gov. Jim Justice thanked Hoyer for leading the state’s response to rebuilding hundreds of the homes lost to the 2016 floods, which killed 23 West Virginians and destroyed more than 1,500 homes and businesses.

Justice also awarded Hoyer with the West Virginia Distinguished Service Medal during Monday’s online event.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve with and lead each one of the men and women of the National Guard,” Hoyer said Monday. “I would ask the men and the women of the National Guard to continue to lead by example, follow the Army and Air Force values. Our nation needs it more than ever before.”

Hoyer said he looks forward to helping the state “in a different uniform,” as he will remain on the governor’s COVID-19 task force and work for West Virginia University as senior associate vice president.