Fort Pickett’s 53rd Commander was installed recently in a ceremony at the National Guard base.
Lt. Col. James “Jaycee” Shaver received the colors Saturday, May 14th from outgoing commander, Col. Tim Pillion.
Shaver is quite familiar with operations at Pickett. He served as Environmental Officer for the Construction and Facilities Management Office from 2006 to 2017, and he administered the Integrated Training Area Management Program from 1999 to 2005.
Most recently, Shaver served as Chief of Plans, Training, and Security at Pickett.
Commander Shaver has deployed as part of Operation Just Cause (Panama, 1989 as an M249 machine gunner), Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq, 2005, as a Security Forces Platoon Leader), and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan, 2008-09, as a Combat Advisor with the Afghan National Army), and to the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility (2016).
A native of Lynchburg, Shaver enlisted in the Army as an Infantryman in 1989 after graduating Amelia County High School. He spent 13 years as an enlisted Soldier prior to receiving a direct appointment to Field Artillery as a Second Lieutenant in 2002. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1999 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, and received a Master’s in Environmental Studies in 2018 from VCU.
Shaver compared the garrison commander to a city manager and explained Fort Pickett is a key anchor in the community with ties to all the surrounding localities. Not only is the installation a critical resource for the Virginia National Guard, he said, but also for the surrounding communities and the Department of Defense as a whole.
“I am humbled by the faith leadership has in me, honored by the opportunity to take on this role, and excited for the great things to come,” Shaver said. “I feel like I have been gravitating toward this position since 1999 when I first started working here. Anyone who has heard me brief knows I love Fort Pickett. I can only hope to leave an admirable legacy behind like all the commanders before me.”
LTC Shaver is married to the former Mary Frances Brizendine of Chesterfield. They have a 12-year-old son, Tristan James, and two daughters, Madison Ann (19) and Kendall Ray (8). The Shavers creside in Chesterfield.
Outgoing Commander Col. Pillion, who led Pickett for the past year, is retiring from service after 34 years but isn’t headed far. He’ll be working for the Department of Military Affairs as a Regional Operations Maintenance Manager.
Col. Pillion was praised by Brig. Gen. K. Weedon Gallagher for his leadership hosting
Operation Allies Welcome. Gallagher thanked Col Pillion for his service and praised his leadership during his tour leading Pickett, particularly as it played host to 10,000 Afghan evacuees between last September and January.
“There was nothing in Tim’s previous assignments designed to prepare him for his seminal challenge of hosting the Operation Allies Welcome here,” Gallagher said. “His command tour was dominated by that massive undertaking.”
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