By Sgt. Nathaniel Free
Public Affairs Office
The Utah National Guard hosted a retirement ceremony for its top general officer and commander, the Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Jeff Burton, at the Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base, Nov. 7, 2019.
“I think integrity is one of those great principles and values that we need to have if we’re going to have successful leadership,” said Governor Gary R. Herbert. “Major General Jeff Burton’s 37 years of service exemplifies that trait of integrity. He dedicated his service to America and the state of Utah, as befitting someone who, as a teenager, would carry around the constitution every day in his pocket.”
Burton began his military service in 1982 as an enlisted Soldier in the field artillery. He attended Brigham Young University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps as a Distinguished Military Graduate and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1984.
Burton served for six years as a regular Army officer in the Military Police Corps, completing tours at the United States Army Military Police School, Fort McClellan, Alabama; in Europe with 7th United States Corps; and at Fort Carson, Colorado with the 4th Infantry Division.
He returned to the Utah Army National Guard in 1991 and branch-transferred to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He has served in many positions to include company commander, battalion executive officer, assistant professor of Military Science at both Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University, director of Civil Military Relations and Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel. He is a two-time battalion commander, leading the Recruiting and Retention Battalion and then as commander of the 1457th Engineer Combat Battalion, where he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom I as part of the 1st Armored Division Task Force in 2003.
In 2007, Burton was appointed as the assistant adjutant general, commander of 5,600 Soldiers in the Utah Army National Guard to include the 19th Special Forces Group, 300th Military Intelligence Brigade, 65th Fires Brigade, 204th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, and 97th Aviation Troop Command.
Burton assumed his duties as the adjutant general in October 2012, responsible for the training and mobilization of more than 7,500 Soldiers and Airmen. He served as the adjutant general, commanding general of the Utah Air and Army National Guard from 2012 to 2019.
“My time in the service has been the best experience of my life,” Burton said. “It’s hard to leave such amazing Airmen and Soldiers, but I know they are in good hands with Brig. Gen. Turley. It’s the people I will miss the most, but I plan to continue advocating for our men and women in uniform wherever I go.”
“As a testament to the outstanding men and women in uniform we have in the Utah National Guard, they can always be counted on to do their job,” Herbert said. “In that regard, they are a reflection of their commanders, their leadership. General Burton did not aspire to become the adjutant general and take on this responsibility, nevertheless, he has left his mark as a great leader. His experience as a battle-hardened warrior was certainly not lost on me. He’s been a soldier’s soldier. People love him for who he is and how he’s conducted his life, particularly his service in the military.”
Herbert presented Burton with his retirement award, the Distinguished Service Medal, for “exceptionally meritorious service to the government in duties of great responsibility.” Burton was also presented with letters of appreciation from the Governor of Utah and the President of the United States, before he received his certificate of retirement, concluding 37 years of faithful, dedicated service.
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