By Maj. Holli Nelson
| West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs | Aug. 5, 2019
Col. Michaelle Munger relinquishes command to Lt. Col. Tanya McGonegal Aug. 3, 2019, during a formal change of command ceremony for the 77th Brigade. McGonegal is the first female African American brigade commander and Munger was the first female brigade commander in the WVARNG’s history. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Davis Rohrer) (Photo by Sgt. Davis Rohrer)
The West Virginia Army National Guard’s (WVARNG) 77th Brigade held a historic change of command Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, as Col. Michaelle Munger relinquished command to Lt. Col. Tanya McGonegal.
McGonegal is the first female African American brigade commander and Munger was the first female brigade commander in the WVARNG’s history.
Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard (WVNG), served as the presiding official for the ceremony and lauded both Munger and McGonegal for their expertise, experience and professionalism throughout their careers.
“I am exceptionally thankful for the work that Michaelle has done as the 77th Brigade commander and at our Joint Forces Headquarters,” said Hoyer. “I know she will continue to represent the West Virginia Army National Guard in a positive light at the National Guard Bureau in her new role.”
He continued, “I know that Tanya will lead the 77th Brigade to new heights as she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from her tenure working in the National Guard Bureau and at the Pentagon. Both Michaelle and Tanya are two important examples that all individuals have an opportunity to excel in our organization. By living out the Army and Air Force values and focusing on what is best for West Virginia and the Nation, everyone can achieve their highest potential in the West Virginia National Guard.”
Munger has served in every component of the U.S. Army – active duty, U.S. Army Reserves and the U.S. Army National Guard. She was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in 1994 and has served in various roles of increasing responsibility for more than 25 years in the WVARNG, the National Guard Bureau and in the Pentagon. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Christopher Newport University and two master’s degrees in environmental science and joint campaign planning and strategy
Her most recent assignments include Director of Joint Operations (J3), WVNG; Associate Director, Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment/Facilities Investment and Management; and as Deputy Director, Real Property Maintenance, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness, Programming and Resources.
“Having been born on a military installation to an Army father, I haven't been in one place too long, and have felt that I was a wanderer. This command opportunity exposed me to the best sons and daughters of West Virginia and given me a place to call home,” said Munger. “The most important commodity of the military are those people that serve in it, and I cannot express accurately in words the pride I have for the Soldiers and accomplishments of the 77th Brigade, currently serving abroad, getting ready to serve abroad, and those that assist in emergencies here in West Virginia."
McGongeal was commissioned through the Virginia Sate Officer Candidate School (OCS) in 1999 and has served in various leadership positions in the National Guard throughout her career. She holds a bachelor’s degree in dance from Rutgers University and master’s degree in business administration from Central Michigan University.
Her most recent assignments include Executive Officer to the Director of Staff at the National Guard Bureau; Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy; and as Advisor for Preparedness Policy for Homeland Defense Integration and Defense Support of Civil Authorities in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy.
"I'm thankful for the warm welcome on my return to the WVNG, the assistance from Col. Munger and staff on the transition, and am honored to serve as the new 77th Troop Command Brigade Commander and look forward to meeting and working with the Soldiers assigned and their families," said McGonegal.
McGonegal will oversee one of two brigades in the WVARNG, which consists of the 1st Battalion, 201st Field Artillery Regiment, the oldest actively serving unit in the Army National Guard, as well as the 1st Squadron, 150th Cavalry Regiment, and the 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne).