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Dorvall becomes Montana Army National Guard’s 1st female brigadier general

Renea Dorvall (Staff Sgt. Christopher Hoffert/Montana Army National Guard. )

A Plentywood native has been promoted to brigadier general of the Montana Army National Guard, the first woman to achieve this rank in the Treasure State.

Maj. Gen. J. Peter Hronek — adjutant general for Montana, Montana National Guard commander and director of the Department of Military Affairs — presented Col. Renea Dorvall with the general’s flag and administered the oath of office during ceremonies Saturday in the Helena Armed Forces Reserve Center auditorium at Forth Harrison.

He noted Dorvall’s ties to northeastern Montana, adding she was likely Plentywood’s first brigadier general as well. Hronek said Dorvall has a degree in elementary education and masters in strategic studies.

“We all need to know where we are going … She always tells the ‘why,’ the why we are doing this and why it is important to to do this and provides that vision and leadership,” he said. “”It gives us the confidence to follow and she does that … And she also leads by example.”

He said family comes first for Dorvall, saying she likes golf, is a good mechanical bull-rider, has walked portions of the Appalachian Trail and loves family game night.

“She loves serving and she loves the Army National Guard,” Hronek said, adding he so glad to promote her to brigadier general, knowing she will do great things for the organization. “We are just so grateful to have her.”

Her husband, two children, and mother — who pinned her with the star.

She joined the Montana Guard in 1987 and received her commission from the Montana Officer Candidate School in 1993. Prior assignments include the director of operations and training for the Montana Army National Guard, commander of the 1889th Regional Support Group in Butte and was the first female commander of the 190th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Billings.

Dorvall, who in 2022 was the first woman to be appointed to assistant adjutant general, reflected on her journey, expressing gratitude for the unwavering support of her family.

She spoke not only of personal achievement but also of the collective strength within the Montana Army National Guard.

Dorvall described Saturday’s ceremony as a “surreal moment.”

“To me it is not about the rank,” she said. “I never thought I’d be standing before you today.”

Dorvall said she owed the start of her military “journey” to her father, Dale Long, who also served in the Army National Guard years ago.

She said her mentors and colleagues taught her it really wasn’t about the position; it was about what you can do for the soldiers.

Dorvall credited others in the guard with helping her on her journey.

“You guys are all part of who raised me,” she said.

“This is not an individual thing, nothing in life I believe is individual,” Dorvall said. “It is because of those we have around us and I have the best team that has helped raise me.”

Dorvall thanked her husband Rick and her children, Ryan and Kyra, adding it was her goal in life to raise good humans.

And she said her mother, Marlene Long, was the best role model she could have ever had in her life. “Nobody works harder than you, no one loves more than you and no one is more accepting than you. You set us kids up for success by how you lived your life. You expected us to be good people. If I can be half the person you are I have done so well.”

She presented flowers to her mom and gave other family members a silver star that they can put on their keychain.

“This has been a great ride and l look forward to continuing to be on it,” she said.

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., congratulated Dorvall on her promotion in an email.

“This is a momentous day for Montana and for Colonel Dorvall. Joining the Montana Army National Guard in 1987, Colonel Dorvall has spent decades serving the Treasure State and our nation,” he said.


(c) 2024 the Independent Record

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