Major General Steven Cray acknowledges new Adjutant General Greg Knight and Governor Phil Scott at the Change of Command ceremony Friday afternoon at Camp Johnson in Colchester. VBM photos.
by Brandon Arcari, Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont National Guard, at a Change of Command ceremony at Camp Johnson in Colchester today, celebrated the installation of new Adjutant General Greg Knight. He assumes command from Major General Steven Cray. Along with the passing of the command, much of the 80-minute ceremony was dedicated to honoring Cray, who is retiring from the Air Force and resuming his civilian life as a pilot for American Airlines.
General Knight has 35 years of uniformed service, 22 years of commissioned service with the Vermont Army National Guard and 13 years of prior enlisted service with the United States Coast Guard and the Vermont Air National Guard. He has served at every level of command and staff within the Vermont National Guard, most recently as the State Human Resources Officer and Commander of the 124th Regiment. Knight deployed to Ramadi, Iraq from June 2005 – June 2006, serving as the Battle Captain for Task Force Saber, First Battalion, 172nd Armor, Vermont Army National Guard, as part of the Second Brigade, 28th Infantry Division, “Iron Soldiers.”
He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and Army Commendation Medal.
Colonel Knight was elected by the Legislature, a system unique to Vermont, from a pool of candidates that included retired Air Force Brigadier General David Baczewski, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel David Graham, and retired Air Force Colonel Rosanne Greco.
The ceremony, officiated by Governor Phil Scott as commander-in-chief of the Vermont National Guard, also featured remarks by Scott, Cray, and a Macedonian general as part of the State Partnership program that Vermont has with Macedonia.
“While we will miss him, we wish him well,” Scott said.
Cray led the National Guard through the Air National Guard’s selection as the first basing of F-35s, as well as the near top-placement of the Guard in national performance rankings.
Cray’s term came to a close just as the Guard was embroiled in controversy following a VTDigger.org investigation that has raised questions about a culture of sexual harassment. During this time, Colonel Knight has served as the Guard’s chief human resources officer.
“We’ve had some challenges,” Knight said in his remarks referencing stories. “[But] together, we will ensure that my daughter and yours, should they choose to join, will have the same opportunities as our sons.”
The leadership of the Vermont National Guard is shared between the Air Guard and the Army Guard, but the Guard has been led by Air Guard members for over 20 years, ending with Knight’s election.
In his speech, Knight praised Cray’s leadership and said he enjoyed working with him.
“[He is] one of the most gracious and decent leaders I have ever worked with.”
The Guard has also faced scrutiny in the past year regarding the replacement of the current F-16 jets based at Burlington with F-35s, due to the noise produced.
Knight served 13 years enlisted with the Coast Guard and 22 years commissioned with the Vermont Army National Guard, and deployed to Iraq for a tour from June 2005 to June 2006. He has received the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, and Army Commendation Medal.
Knight graduated from Johnson State College, now part of Northern Vermont University, with a degree in history, and received a masters of education from Post University as well as a Masters of National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.
The ceremony concluded with Cray’s retirement, where he received gifts and commendations, as well as a Distinguished Service Medal.
General Knight is married to Tracy, his wife of 24 years. They have four children – Jason, Griffin, daughter Colby and Cooper. COL Knight is a long-time resident of Huntington, VT.
Bachelor of History from Johnson State College, Johnson, VT
Masters of Education from Post University, Waterbury, CT
Masters of National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, Newport, RI