Governor Lamont Nominates Retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Ronald P. Welch as Commissioner of Veterans Affairs
Ronald P. Welch
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he is nominating retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Ronald “Ron” P. Welch of Waterford to serve as commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs.
General Welch has nearly 40 years of military service. Since his retirement from the military in 2017, he has been working for a local nonprofit organization that connects Connecticut veterans, active-duty service members, National Guard, Reserve, and their families with the programs and services they need to assist with daily life challenges, especially for those who are transitioning away from military service.
“With nearly 40 years of military experience, General Welch knows firsthand what it means to serve our nation in numerous capacities, what it’s like being away from family and loved ones for an extended period while on deployment during an armed conflict in a foreign country, and what it’s like returning to civilian life and handling the challenges that come with stepping away from service,” Governor Lamont said. “He has an extensive amount of experience with Connecticut’s military community, spending many years in leadership roles with the Connecticut National Guard and then upon retirement choosing to continue his sense of giving by working with a local nonprofit organization that provides assistance to veterans, service members, and their families. He is immensely qualified to lead the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs, and I am grateful that he has agreed to continue his many years of public service by accepting this position. I thank Tom Saadi for his many years of service with the state. His leadership has provided an invaluable service to the veterans of Connecticut, and we appreciate everything he has done to ensure veterans have the support services they have earned.”
“I am humbled and honored to be selected by Governor Lamont to serve as the next Commissioner of Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs,” General Welch said. “I look forward to continuing to serve Connecticut’s military, veterans, and their families that have given so much for the freedoms we enjoy each day in our great state and nation.”
General Welch enlisted in the U.S. Army on April 22, 1978, and served on active duty with the 2nd Ranger Battalion of the 75th 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 on October 2, 1982.
After leaving active service, General Welch joined the Connecticut National Guard, where he attended Officer Candidate School in 1983. On August 11, 1984, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the infantry. He then served 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.
General Welch 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 85th 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.
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.
The Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs is the state agency responsible for connecting veterans and their eligible dependents with information and support services regarding state and federal veterans’ benefits.
In accepting the position of commissioner, General Welch will succeed Thomas J. Saadi, who resigned earlier this week following his nomination to become a judge of the Connecticut Superior Court.
The Office of the Governor is forwarding General Welch’s nomination to the Connecticut General Assembly for its advice and consent.