Guard commander offers invite to join National Guard

By J.M. Simpson on December 25, 2021

Growing up the son of a career Army soldier who retired from then Fort Lewis, Bryan Grenon learned the value of hard work, dedicated involvement, and setting and meeting high standards.

"He did it through sheer presence," Grenon began, "and he made me want to do my best and fight through adversity because I didn't want to disappoint him."

While attending Washington High School near Tacoma, Grenon never gave much thought to joining the military. But that changed during his sophomore year as a social science major at Washington State University. 

"I joined ROTC ... because I applied for and was offered a two-year scholarship," he explained. "It was only after I joined that I realized I enjoyed serving.

Commissioned in 1989, he joined the Washington Army National Guard (WA ARNG) in 1990 after Field Artillery Officer Basic Training. At that point, Grenon had his sights fixed on two career objectives.

"I wanted to be a military officer and a police officer," he said.

After 29 years of service, he is a retired Assistant Chief from the Seattle Police Department. After 32 years of serving in the Washington Army National Guard, he is the current Land Component Commander and Deputy Commanding General for the Fires Center of Excellence at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

"There are a lot of similarities to the military and police work," Grenon explained. "Both have provided the discipline and ... leadership skills learned through experience and professional military education."

As a general officer, Grenon views the Army National Guard in general and the Washington Army National Guard in particular as the "Swiss knife" for the nation.

"We have dual missions: We have the federal mission to fight and win the nation's wars, and we are resourced with the training and equipment for that purpose," he explained.

"But we also have a state mission to serve at the direction of the Governor in order to respond to man-made or natural disasters and to incidents of civil unrest."

Grenon pointed out that during the past year, Guard soldiers have been activated for the COVID pandemic, civil unrest and forest fires while at the same time remaining deployable for federal missions in the Middle East and Europe.

"Our soldiers have been very busy and have succeeded in every mission or task assigned," he added.

During his career as a police officer, Grenon earned his way up through the ranks from patrol and bicycle officer, Special Weapons and Tactics team member to patrol sergeant, watch lieutenant and precinct commander before serving as the assistant chief of Homeland Security in Seattle.

"I am very passionate about giving back to our nation and community," he pointed out. He added that he deployed twice to Iraq with the 81st Brigade Combat Team.

Grenon also invited soldiers thinking about leaving active-duty service but still wanting to serve the nation to consider joining the Washington Army National Guard.

"Joining the Guard allows them to continue to serve their country part-time," he said. "Doing so also provides them with opportunities outside of a particular Military Occupational Specialty that they may not get on active-duty. We actively seek out soldiers who want to continue to serve and welcome them to the Washington Army National Guard family."

His father would be proud.