News: Deputy director of ANG receives the Order of California
Story by Senior Master Sgt. Jerry Bynum
WASHINGTON - The Deputy director of the Air National Guard was presented the Order of California by Army Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, the adjutant general of California, at the Pentagon here Tuesday.
Brig. Gen. James C. Witham received this prestigious award for exceptionally meritorious service during his tenure as the commander of the California ANG from Nov. 15, 2011, through Nov. 15, 2012.
“This is the highest award that we give in California,” said Baldwin. “We give it to mainly senior leaders who have made a profound difference in the strategic direction of our force. Gen. Witham absolutely did that as the commander of the California Air National Guard.”
Witham’s leadership instilled an organizational culture that embraced the Air Force core values. His strategic perspective, command and staff experience, and his decisiveness ensured the right leadership was in place to meet operational challenges and oversee implementation of complex Total Force Integration initiatives contributing to the success of the California ANG.
“(Gen. Witham) is very dynamic,” Baldwin said. “He had a view to take the Guard to the next level in California and set a lot of things in motion that will benefit our airmen for the years to come.”
An understanding of doctrine, span of control and future vision led to support and refinement of an organizational change request that established diverse missions in the California ANG of cyber, space intelligence and expeditionary communications.
Witham tenaciously embraced force development by inaugurating a chartered force development council. His actions laid the foundation for personnel advancement and qualifications to fill key leadership positions.
Within the Air Division and Headquarters Air Staff, Witham established civil support as a mission priority. He identified resident, dual-use capabilities and ensured coordinated deliberate operational planning with the Army National Guard and state-level joint staff.
This renewed spirit of cooperation included appointment of four ANG officers in joint command or key leadership positions and led to validations and certification in all supported civil missions sets.
The Order of California is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service to the state of California or the nation by a member of the California National Guard, state military reserve, or naval militia in a position of great responsibility.
Qualifying service must have been within the scope of a special requirement or extremely difficult duty. It may also be awarded to civilians and members of other military services.