RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia's military forces are getting a new commander.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe Wednesday announced U.S. Army Col. Timothy Paschal Williams as the state's next adjutant general over the Virginia Army National Guard, Virginia Air National Guard, and Virginia Defense Force.
Williams replaces Maj. Gen. Daniel "Chip" Long Jr., who is retiring at the end of May after more than 50 years in uniform, the past four as adjutant general.
McAuliffe in a statement cited Williams' "vision, record of service and commitment to keeping Virginians safe," distinguished leadership in the National Guard and military service in Iraq as some of the qualities that make him the right choice.
"Colonel Williams understands the Guard, the men and women who serve in it and the critical role they play in protecting our way of life as Virginians," the governor added.
Williams, a Virginia Tech graduate, spent five years on active duty before joining the National Guard, according to the governor's office.
The decorated officer's most recent military assigned was director of resource management on the Virginia National Guard Joint Staff.
McAuliffe, as governor, is commander in chief of Virginia's armed forces.
The Virginia Army National Guard has about 7,600 officers and enlisted members, while the Virginia Air National Guard counts about 1,200 personnel, and the Virginia Defense Force has roughly 400.