Franklin native promoted to major general

Published 6:23 pm Wednesday, March 10, 2021

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Brig. Gen. Michelle M. Rose of Franklin was promoted to major general Dec. 18, 2020, making her the first woman in the Virginia National Guard to achieve the rank.

Her promotion ceremony was held at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Rose currently serves as director of logistics and engineering for the North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command. She’s previously served in company, battalion and brigade staff and command positions in the Virginia National Guard.

We choose our senior leaders based on mastering their profession from the tactical level to the strategic level,” said Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of NORAD and USNORTHCOM and presiding officer at the promotion ceremony. “Michelle possesses the courage, character and commitment we look for in every leader.”

Rose joined the Virginia Army National Guard in 1994, commanded the 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion during a deployment to Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom in 2008, and was promoted to brigadier general in 2018. As the director of logistics and engineering at NORAD and USNORTHCOM, Rose is responsible for integrating, collaborating, and executing strategic logistics capabilities to provide viable solutions to homeland defense, theater security cooperation and providing rapid and flexible response to civil authorities.

Rose said she wouldn’t have accomplished any missions in her career without the great noncommissioned officers she was lucky enough to have on her team throughout her time in the military.

I have learned much from them and if it wasn’t for their guidance, mentorship, and leadership I would never be where I am today,” she said. “Some of them literally saved my career when I was about to make a mistake, and others gave me great advice, but still always let me make the final decisions and supported me in my leadership roles. They are truly the backbone of the U.S. military and we as leaders are all better for it.”

Rose also credited the vital support of her family.

I frankly couldn’t have had this adventure in the military, without the support of my family,” Rose said. “They have put up with a lot, between deployments, time gone to extended military schools, many weekends away, missed proms, theater plays, anniversaries, and other key events in their lives.”

She shared how her family has always hung in there and always reminded her that she is a spouse and mom first, and an Army soldier second.

When I finished up my deployment as a battalion commander, Barry reminded me after I got home back to the craziness of raising three girls, that according to my kids, I was no longer the ‘big cheese,’ but just mom to them,” she said. “Talk about bringing you back down to earth!”

Rose was promoted in a small ceremony with a few family members, colleagues and friends who attended physically and many whom attended virtually from every time zone.

Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, and Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald L. Smith Jr., the Virginia Army National Guard command sergeant major, both delivered remarks via streaming video.

Williams explained he had met Rose more than 20 years ago when she first joined the Virginia National Guard and took command of the 1710th Transportation Company, and how their federal civil service careers also overlapped. He said Rose made a strong impression with VNG leaders during her company command as well as when she served as the division transportation officer for the 29th Infantry Division.

Rose broke new ground as the commander of the 529th CSSB during their deployment to Afghanistan as she was the first female officer to lead a Virginia National Guard battalion in a combat zone.

It was extraordinary to see the level of leadership, the ability, the care for Soldiers and sheer energy she put into the command,” Williams said. “It was remarkable.”

She later succeeded Williams as the commander of the 329th Regional Support Group.

There is no finer person, there is no one who embodies more the servant leader and servant Soldier than Michelle Rose,” Williams said.

Smith served with Rose as her command sergeant major both at the 529th CSSB and 329th RSG.

I respect you so much because you would also listen and always willing to take in more information, and because of that, we always stayed synched as a command team,” Smith said. “As a commander, I watched Maj. Gen. Rose confront many tough decisions, and soldier care was always part of that equation. She would always make the best decisions, and it was always based on the mission and the safety of soldiers.”

Rose said Smith “always gave great military advice, especially in running an effective and disciplined unit in combat, but always supported my decisions even if he advised otherwise. We made a great team and I appreciated his candid advice.”

Rose said her career had come full circle over 31 years starting with her time as a second lieutenant standing at the Port of Dammam on her first deployment and looking up at the largest cargo ship she had ever seen and thinking, “what the heck am I doing here?”

I could have never imagined such a full career, supportive soldiers and fellow service members, and a great family and community network to back me up,” she said. “Thank you to the U.S. Army for providing me with that start in ROTC at NC State with a scholarship, to the great NCOs and Soldiers I have served with, and the mentors and leaders who tried to give me advice, this promotion is for you, my Army family, and my family here today and online.”

Rose was commissioned in 1989 as a Regular Army second lieutenant through the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering. She earned a Master of Business Administration – Management in 1997 from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, and graduated in 2014 from the U.S. Army War College Distance Education Program with a Master of Strategic Studies.

After commissioning, she served on active duty and completed two combat tours. She served as a transportation platoon leader in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and later as company executive officer in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia while assigned to the 24th Transportation Battalion, 7th Group, based at Fort Eustis, Virginia.

She joined the Virginia Army National Guard in 1994 and has held multiple logistical and command assignments through her Guard career. She served as the division transportation officer of the 29th Infantry Division and later in a joint assignment as senior transportation officer with Joint Task Force Civil Support, U.S. Joint Forces Command, at Fort Monroe, Virginia.

In 2008, Rose commanded the 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, which included a deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom at Shindand, Afghanistan, as the first U.S. logistics unit in Regional Command West. After battalion command, she served on the Virginia National Guard joint staff as the state resource manager before taking command of the Virginia Beach-based 329th Regional Support Group from May 2012 to October 2015.

After commanding the 329th RSG, she served in a joint assignment as the VNG director of strategic plans and international affairs with responsibility for the State Partnership program with the country of Tajikistan. She helped to shape the future of the U.S. Army as a strategic planner for the implementation of the Congressionally-mandated National Commission on the Future of the Army. She was personally selected to serve as chief of National Guard Bureau General Officer Management and most recently served on the National Guard Bureau Joint Staff as director of logistics and engineering.

In civilian life, Rose works as a system safety engineer for U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Eustis, Virginia.

Her awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Joint Meritorious Unit Award with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters and the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service Medal.