CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Monday afternoon, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice hosted the official Change of Command Ceremony, marking the transition from Maj. Gen. James Hoyer to Brig. Gen. William “Bill” Crane as Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard.

Maj. Gen. James Hoyer

In November, Justice announced that Hoyer would be retiring from the National Guard, but that he would continue to serve the state in a new role at West Virginia University. Hoyer will remain involved as the leader of the state’s Joint Interagency Task Force for COVID-19 Vaccines, even as he begins a new role at West Virginia University serving as a senior associate vice president. He will also continue to be heavily involved in economic development initiatives around the state as a part of Gov. Justice’s administration, including the recently announced Virgin Hyperloop Certification Center, according to a news release.

“Gen. Hoyer has done a phenomenal, phenomenal job,” Gov. Justice said, lauding Hoyer and the National Guard for their work in response to the 2016 flood.

The governor then presented Gen. Hoyer with the West Virginia Distinguished Service Award.

Hoyer has served in the military for nearly 40 years and as West Virginia’s Adjutant General for 10 years.

Brig. Gen. Bill Crane

Gen. Crane said that he has been mentored by Gen. Hoyer for many years.

“I am honored to assume the responsibilities of Adjutant General for our great Mountain State and cannot begin to thank Governor Justice and General Hoyer for the trust and confidence they have placed in me to lead this incredible organization into the future,” Brig. Gen. Crane said.

Crane, originally from Friendly, in Tyler County, is a 36 year veteran of the National Guard. In his most recent assignments, Crane served as a chief of staff for the West Virginia Army National Guard, commander for the 111th Engineer Brigade and as Director of the Joint Staff. He has also served as a chemist in his civilian career and holds multiple patents for his work.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin issued a statement on the ceremony:

“The Change of Command ceremony held today signifies the end of General Hoyer’s leadership of the West Virginia National Guard and the start of General Crane’s time as the Adjutant General of the West Virginia National Guard. Since 1983, General Hoyer has served West Virginia and the United States admirably and I wish him and his wife Amy well in all their future endeavors. I look forward to working with General Crane in his new role as Adjutant General as he leads our brave servicemembers and wish Bill and his wife Jennifer luck as they take on this new role.”