October 20, 2002, 20:32 EDT

Sayers promoted to Assistant AG

by Spec. Stephanie Willer
Virginia Guard Public Affairs Office

BLACKSTONE, Va. - The morning started out with a series of push-ups, sit-ups and a two-mile run, which was nothing new for this thirty-year veteran of the Guard. He was taking the Annual Physical Fitness Test (APFT), which he passed with the maximum score of 300. The next item on his morning schedule was a promotion and starting his new job as Assistant Adjutant General (AAG) of the Virginia National Guard - all this before most of us have had our first cup of coffee- not too bad!

During the October drill weekend, Col. John E. Sayers, Jr. was promoted to brigadier general and given the new assignment of AAG for the Virginia National Guard. Sayers will be replacing Brig. Gen. J. W. Godwin, Jr., who retired in August of this year. Sayers is excited about his new role.

Sayers, who would have been retiring this year had it not had been for the nomination made by Maj. Gen. Claude Williams, said "It's a real honor because it gives me a chance to continue to work with the good soldiers of our military. We need to take care of the soldiers who are stepping forward to do the job of 'citizen soldier.'"

Sayers is looking forward to working with Williams, especially during these trying times. "We have a lot of soldiers who are being asked to sacrifice their time with their families and their civilian lives for the next one to two years and that's asking a lot." He added, "but they are doing it without complaint, so it's our job to take care of them and their families."

The Guard is something that Sayers is committed to and believes in, and his family supports him in his efforts. His parents, his wife, Joan, and one of his two sons were in attendance at his promotion at the headquarters of the State Area Command. Sayers said that family is very important. "I used to tell my soldiers at the end of every drill, 'Thank your families when you go home for their support because without their support you wouldn’t be here.'"

Sayers attended Virginia Military Institute and received his undergraduate degree 1972. He went on to complete his Master of History degree in 1974. He is currently working as a teacher for the Augusta County School System. Sayers joined the Virginia Army National Guard in 1976 and has never left. "I've been in love with the Guard ever since," said Sayers. Throughout his career he has served in a variety of command and staff positions, and most recently held the position of Commander of the 183rd Regiment, Readiness Training Institute (RTI) were he helped to get the officer candidate program up and running and also prepare soldiers for active duty.

His new title will include certain areas of responsibility and to oversee the Guard in support of the general. "It's a challenging position, you're not a commander, but you do have influence in your role. You truly are part of the team."

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