Ronald P. Welch, Commissioner
Brigadier General, (Ret.), USA, Ronald P. “Ron” Welch enlisted in the U.S. Army on April 22, 1978, and served on active duty with the 2 Ranger Battalion of the 75 Ranger Regiment at Fort Lewis Washington. During his active-duty service, he attained the rank of sergeant and completed Basic Airborne School, Ranger School, Jungle Warfare Course, USMC Amphibious Recon Scout Swimmer Course, Jumpmaster Course, Primary Non-Commission Officer Course, USMC Scout Sniper Course, Emergency Medical Technician Course, Special Operations and Tactics Course, and the Pathfinder School. On May 4, 1981, he sustained serious injuries during a line of duty parachute accident. He left active service after completing his tour of duty on October 2, 1982.
He returned home and joined the Connecticut National Guard and eventually attended Officer Candidate School and on August 11, 1984, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the infantry. He then served full-time in numerous positions in the Connecticut National Guard’s Infantry units as a rifle platoon leader, company commander, and various staff positions. He also served as an operations officer in a Combat Engineer battalion. He was the Battalion Commander of Officer Candidate School for Region 1. As member of the National Guard, he graduated from the Infantry Officer Basic Course, Master Fitness Trainer Course, Air Assault Course, Infantry Officers Advanced Courses, NBC Officer/NCO Defense Course, Rappel Master Course, Combined Arms Service Staff School, Command and General Staff College, the U.S. Army War College, Army Combat Lifesaver Course, Joint Task Force Commander Training Course, Dual Status Commander Orientation Course, Leadership in Homeland Security Course, Advanced Joint Professional Military Education, and the General and Flag Officer Homeland Security Executive Seminar.
He was promoted to Colonel on October 1, 2004, and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from 2005 to 2006 as a senior American advisor to an Afghan National Army, Infantry Brigade located in Eastern Afghanistan, providing training, advice, and conducting combat operations. While in Afghanistan, he continued to advise units of the Connecticut National Guard in preparing them for their deployments to Afghanistan. His main advice was to learn the culture, language, and customs, while continuing professional military professional development, and premobilization training, such as troop leading procedures, battle drills, convoy operations, land navigation, physical fitness, and marksmanship.
In 2008, he was appointed Chief of Staff of the Connecticut National Guard, and in 2012 he became the 85 Troop Command Commander. In 2014 he was selected as the Director of the Joint Staff and promoted to Brigadier General of the Line in 2015. He retired from military service in 2017. Following his retirement, General Welch sought opportunities to provide support for veterans and active-duty service members and families, and he accepted a position as Vice President of Military and Family Services for Veterans Rally Point with Easterseals Capital Region and Eastern Connecticut, a nonprofit organization that provides expanded access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities for those with disabilities and the veteran population.
Brigadier General Welch is a graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1992 and a Master of Science degree in organizational management in 2007. He also earned a Master of Strategic Studies in 2011 from the U.S. Army War College. Some of his decorations and badges include the Legion of Merit, Soldiers Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with one Silver Oak Leaf Cluster and 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War of Terrorism Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab, Master Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Air Assault Badge, Israeli Parachutist Badge, Canadian Parachutist Badge, German Army Marksmanship Badge Gold, Connecticut Medal of Valor, Connecticut Medal of Merit with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, and Connecticut Emergency Service Ribbon with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters.
He resides in southeastern Connecticut. His oldest son Stephen is a combat veteran with three tours. He is a full-time Physician Assistant for the CT National Guard, previously serving in the ED at Yale, a daughter Katherine is attending Quinnipiac University in the Occupational Therapy master’s program. And his youngest son Ethan is entering his senior year at Pennsylvania State University majoring in Public Health.
Joseph D Danao II, Deputy Commissioner
Joseph D. Danao II serves as Deputy Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs as of May 3, 2023. Deputy Commissioner Danao began his service with the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs in October 2015 serving as Executive Assistant to the Commissioner with duties as the Director of Operations and Projects.
Deputy Commissioner Danao oversees approximately 250 employees dedicated to providing advocacy, healthcare, domiciliary, and burial services for Connecticut’s more than 171,000 Veterans and their families. During Deputy Commissioner Danao’s tenure at the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs, he played key roles in facilitating significant infrastructure and program improvements throughout the 92 acre main campus in Rocky Hill, CT and at the Middletown State Veterans Cemetery.
Prior to his appointment, he served more than 33 years in the Connecticut Army National Guard in a variety of command and staff positions. Deputy Commissioner Danao deployed as the Kabul Area Officer In Charge with the Afghanistan Engineer District-North, United States Army Corp of Engineers in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2010.
His significant military education includes the Multichannel Communications Equipment Operator Course, Engineer Basic Course, Engineer Advanced Course, Chemical Pre-Command Course, United States Combined Services Staff School, United States Army Command and General Staff College.
His significant military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (3rd Award); Army Commendation Medal (5th Award); Army Achievement Medal (5th Award); Global War on Terrorism, Overseas Service Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one Bronze Star, Military Outstanding Volunteer Medal, Connecticut Medal of Merit, Connecticut Emergency Services Medal (7th Award); California Counterdrug Ribbon (2 Awards) and Connecticut Wartime Service Medal. Deputy Commissioner Danao is a recipient of the National Guard Association of the United States Valley Forge Cross for Heroism Award in 2001.
He was born in New London, CT. He is a graduate of the former Mohegan Community College, Eastern Connecticut State University, University of Hartford, University of New Haven and is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Education with a specialization in Healthcare Executive Leadership Program at the University of Saint Augustine.
Deputy Commissioner Danao is of Filipino descent and resides in Oakdale, CT. He is married to SGM (retired) Laura Danao. His son is a Sergeant First Class in the Connecticut Army National Guard, and his son in law is a Navy Petty Officer stationed in Japan. His father and father-in-law are Korean/Vietnam War Era Veterans, and both his grandfathers are Veterans of World War II.
As of June 1, 2023