CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WVVA) - In a small cermony held today at the West Virginia National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters in Charleston, Murray E. "Gene" Holt was promoted to the rank of brigadier general.
Major General James Hoyer, the WVNG Adjutant General. presided over the event.
The event was broadcast virtually for other service members and for Holt's family, due to the pandemic.
Hoyer praised Holt's leadership throughout his career and noted his most recent role where he has served as the Joint Task Force Corona, the Guard's COVID-19 response mechanisms, commander and West Virginia Army National Guard Chief of Staff simultaneously.
"Gene epitomizes what we look for in an Army leader - dedication to duty, compassion, loyalty, and he lives out the Army values in all that he does," say Hoyer.
"Although we can't celebrate his promotion with the pomp and circumstance that we usually would because of the pandemic, I know Gene will be a great leader of the West Virginia Army National Guard and I thank him for all he and his family have done to support the Guard over the years. I know he will do tremendous things going forward."
Kelly, Holt's wife, and his children, joined him in the ceremony while the rest of his family viewed the ceremony virtually.
He then thanked those in attendance and offered his appreciation for the mentorship, counsel and camaraderie he has received over his more than 35-year career in the WVARNG.
He especially thanked Hoyer, and the senior leadership team of the WVARNG for their confidence in his abilities and for the support he has received from them, and many others, over the years.
"This is a very special day for me and my family," stated Holt. "It is an extreme privilege to be asked to serve your country as a general officer and I'm truly humbled and honored. I owe this opportunity to all those who have supported me over the years and who have spent much of their time and energy to help prepare me for the next role I would take in my career. Leadership development will continue to be one of my main priorities in this new position."
He continued, "I especially want to thank my family who have provided constant support to me and have always been involved organization. I also want to thank my parents and brother for giving me a strong work ethic and who taught me about compassion and fairness."
Holt then described the changes he had seen during his career and his hope for the future of the Army National Guard, which included an emphasis on combat readiness, maintaining domestic response capabilities and esuring that the organization remains releavnt well into the future.
"I'm so proud to serve with the more than 4,000 Army National Guard Soldiers," he said.
"They are dedicated, disciplined and selfless. I've always been proud to be a part of the West Virginia Army National Guard and I greatly appreciate this new opportunity to lead and make an impact."
Holt has been serving with teh West Virginian Army National Guard since 1985.
He began his career as an enlisted soldier before earning his commission into the Army Engineer Corps in 1990 from West Virginia State University where he earned a degree in accounting.
He also holds two master's degrees frm West Virginia State University and the U.S. Army War Colleg in business and strategic studies.
Holt has served at every level of leadership in the WVARNG, including most recently as the Chief of Staff.
He has also served as commander for both the 111th Engineer Brigade and 1092nd Engineer Battalion, and has held numerous other positions in the engineer branch of the West Virginia Army National Guard.
In the next few weeks, Holt will assume command of the WVARNG as the Assistant Adjutant General - Army.
In this role, he will command the force of nearly 4,200 soldiers and exercise responsibility for all West Virginia Army National Guard programs.
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