Power executive named new National Guard commander
STEAD, Nev. (AP) – Col. Francis P. Gonzales, a southern Nevada power company executive, was installed Saturday as the new commander of the Nevada Army Guard.
Gonzales, who is waiting official federal approval to become a brigadier general, replaced Brig. Gen. Randall Sayre of Carson City as the state’s highest ranking Army Guard officer.
Sayre, a 1971 Fallon graduate, is retiring after serving more than 30 years in the active army and National Guard.
Gonzales will now oversee the training and readiness for all units assigned to the Nevada Army National Guard.
During the past three years, Sayre has overseen Nevada Army National Guard deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as well as in the United States.
“General Sayre took over command of the Nevada Army National Guard at a very difficult time,” Brig. Gen. Cynthia Kirkland, adjutant general for Nevada, said at the change of command ceremony held at the Army Aviation Support Facility north of Stead.
She said Sayre ensured units were prepared and well trained before they shipped out to fight the global war on terrorism.
During Sayre’s tenure as the CAG, approximately 74 percent of Nevada’s citizen-soldiers deployed either overseas or within the continental U.S.
“This Army and Air National Guard has its fingers all over the world,” Sayre said. “Our business in Iraq and Afghanistan is not finished. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring.”
Sayre attended the University of Nevada and received his degree a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He served for six years before returning to Nevada in 1981.
Kirkland said Gonzales shadowed Sayre as a deputy commander and learned from Sayre’s leadership. She said Gonzales will continue to take the Nevada Guard through new challenges.
Gonzales brings almost 29 years of military experience to the position. He received his commission in 1979 from the Nevada Military Department. He served in numerous leadership positions ranging from company commander to a military assistant dealing with Iraqi reconstruction.
The Sparks native recently concluded a six-month deployment in Iraq. Aschief of staff in the project and contracting office, Gonzales oversaw 46,000 contractors working on 3,400 projects worth $18.4 billion. He was also responsible for 2,7000 joint force soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines employed across the combat zone contributing to Iraqi reconstruction.
Gonzales had volunteered for the deployment last summer to gain a better understanding of the working conditions the military undergoes in a combat zone.
In his civilian job, Gonzales is the operations executive for Nevada Power Co., in Las Vegas.
He graduated from Reed High School in 1977 and received his undergraduate degrees from Regents College and Sierra Nevada College and a master of arts degree from the University of Phoenix. in 1996.
Information from: Lahontan Valley News, http://www.lahontanvalleynews.com