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State’s retired major general honored with distinguished service award

James Donahue (left), Association of the United States Army William Penn Chapter president and Hank Zola, AUSA First Region president, present retired Maj. Gen. Wesley Craig, formerly The Adjutant General of the Pennsylvania National Guard, the Mary G. Roebling Distinguished Service Award during the closing ceremonies of the AUSA regional meeting sponsored by the William Penn Chapter of AUSA, Washington Crossing Historic Park, Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania on May 16, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond/Released)

James Donahue (left), Association of the United States Army William Penn Chapter president and Hank Zola, AUSA First Region president, present retired Maj. Gen. Wesley Craig, formerly The Adjutant General of the Pennsylvania National Guard, the Mary G. Roebling Distinguished Service Award during the closing ceremonies of the AUSA regional meeting sponsored by the William Penn Chapter of AUSA, Washington Crossing Historic Park, Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania on May 16, 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond/Released)

Nick Sciarrotta of the Old Barracks Fife and Drum Corps, a part of the Friends of Washington Crossing Park Reenactors, plays the fife during the distinguished service award dinner for retired Maj. Gen. Wesley Craig May 16, 2015, Washington Crossing Historic Park, Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania. Craig, formerly The Adjutant General of the Pennsylvania National Guard, was presented with the 2015 Mary G. Roebling Award. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond/Released)

Nick Sciarrotta of the Old Barracks Fife and Drum Corps, a part of the Friends of Washington Crossing Park Reenactors, plays the fife during the distinguished service award dinner for retired Maj. Gen. Wesley Craig May 16, 2015, Washington Crossing Historic Park, Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania. Craig, formerly The Adjutant General of the Pennsylvania National Guard, was presented with the 2015 Mary G. Roebling Award. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond/Released)

Members of the U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps from Temple University, Philadelphia, present the colors during the distinguished service award dinner for retired Maj. Gen. Wesley Craig May 16, 2015, Washington Crossing Historic Park, Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania. Craig, formerly The Adjutant General of the Pennsylvania National Guard, was presented with the 2015 Mary G. Roebling Award. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond/Released)

Members of the U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps from Temple University, Philadelphia, present the colors during the distinguished service award dinner for retired Maj. Gen. Wesley Craig May 16, 2015, Washington Crossing Historic Park, Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania. Craig, formerly The Adjutant General of the Pennsylvania National Guard, was presented with the 2015 Mary G. Roebling Award. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond/Released)

Retired Maj. Gen. Wesley Craig, formerly The Adjutant General of the Pennsylvania National Guard, gives a speech after receiving the Mary G. Roebling Distinguished Service Award during the closing ceremonies of the Association of the United States Army regional meeting sponsored by the William Penn Chapter of the AUSA, Washington Crossing Historic Park, Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania on May 16, 2015. Craig has worn the Army uniform for nearly 50 years prior to retiring this year. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond/Released)

Retired Maj. Gen. Wesley Craig, formerly The Adjutant General of the Pennsylvania National Guard, gives a speech after receiving the Mary G. Roebling Distinguished Service Award during the closing ceremonies of the Association of the United States Army regional meeting sponsored by the William Penn Chapter of the AUSA, Washington Crossing Historic Park, Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania on May 16, 2015. Craig has worn the Army uniform for nearly 50 years prior to retiring this year. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond/Released)

WASHINGTON CROSSING, Pa -- Amid the throb of drum taps and staccato whistle of fifes, the distinguished military career of formerly The Adjutant General--Pennsylvania, and now-retired Maj. Gen. Wesley Craig, Jr. was honored during an award dinner and ceremony May 16, 2015, Washington Crossing Historic Park here.

"Recipients of the (Mary G. Roebling) award include three of my personal heroes," said Craig. "I'm highly honored to join such a select group of distinguished Pennsylvanians."

The Mary G. Roebling Distinguished Service Award was established by the Association of the United States Army and bestowed upon those who carry on the work of supporting the U.S. military--similar to the award's namesake. Roebling is considered to some as one of the most prominent and influential advocates of the U.S. military of the 20th century.

Craig continued by thanking his family and fellow Guardsmen, attributing his military success to their support.

"Thanks especially to the soldiers of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, who I had the tremendous privilege and honor of working with for the 40 of my 42 years in uniform," he said. "Their dedicated service to commonwealth and country has been absolutely remarkable. They are truly a national treasure and are the real reason I am receiving this award tonight."

The major general's work and military support both began and will continue in Pennsylvania.

Craig's career originated in 1968 at Temple University, where he graduated from the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps as a distinguished military graduate. After two years in the active-duty Army, Craig transferred to the Pennsylvania National Guard, serving 40 years as an Army Guardsman. His career spanned time performed in the Army's Transportation Corps in Virginia and Georgia; to Squadron Commander of the 1st Squadron, 104th Armored Calvary; to Executive Officer and then Commanding Officer of the 56th Mechanized Infantry Brigade; to Commander of the 28th Infantry Division (Mechanized) before becoming TAG.

"He saw mobilization and deployment efforts of over 6,000 soldiers," said Hank Zolla, president of the First Region of the AUSA, as he addressed the crowd during Craig's award presentation. "He's deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Saudi Arabia. Among his awards and citations are the Army Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal and many, many more--I'm giving you the Reader's Digest version here."

Despite an attempt at retirement in 2006, Craig was recalled to active service as TAG for the state in 2011.

During his short stint away from active military, Craig served in a multitude of roles supporting the armed services including: state Chairman for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, Liberty USO chairman for the state and southern New Jersey and as a United States Army War College Foundation board of directors member.

As Craig takes another attempt at retirement, the feeling is bittersweet.

"I've had a military uniform in my closet for almost 50 years, so (retirement) feels a little odd, but there's a sense of satisfaction seeing how the organization and its professionalism have grown," said Craig. "When the country called, the Pennsylvania Guard was there. We answered every mission and it made me feel good knowing I had a hand in training those guys and gals. And now, I look forward to going back into the military support activities I did before."