Field Artillery Officer Continues Family Legacy of Military Service > Virginia National Guard > News

In Captain Adrian Fonville’s family, military service is a tradition. Both of his grandfathers served, as did his mother, father, and stepfather. It’s an all-army family. Today, Fonville serves as the battalion directing fire officer for the 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and despite his family’s affinity for the service military, he did not join the Virginia National Guard until he was in his mid-20s.

For Fonville, it was all about timing.

“I didn’t want to enroll in ROTC, I wanted to fully explore my college experience first without being burdened with military commitments, and then research options to achieve my lifelong goal of leading soldiers in the U.S. military,” Fonville said.

After graduating from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, he joined the National Guard and began working his way through the Virginia National Guard Officer Candidate School. When he started, he was not completely fixed on a branch, but was leaning towards a commission in the quartermaster corps. Fortunately, his OCS management was able to provide some advice.

“Shift. [Jonathan] Fair was my SCO executive and he pulled me aside,” Fonville said. “He explained everything that went on in the only Virginia National Guard field artillery battalion, and here I am.”

Over the past few years, Fonville has grown to love field artillery and says it’s easy to see how amazing the career is when you see big smiles on the faces of gun crews. It is, he says, the best career field in the army.

“We are the king of battle, so we are the weapon that produces the most casualties on the battlefield,” Fonville said. “That adrenaline rush alone is what makes everyone proud to serve as a redleg in the artillery community.”

In January, Fonville oversaw a 19-gun salute fired at the inauguration of the 74th Governor of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia. It was, he says, a highlight of his career.

“I’ve done a few pretty high profile events, but that’s probably number one,” Fonville said.

The opportunities offered to Fonville are very different from those offered to his grandfathers. Both were enlisted men and were limited in the roles they could fill in the U.S. military as black Americans. Fonville said part of the reason celebrations like Black History Month are important is that it provides an opportunity to learn from each other while building cohesion and understanding.

“Everyone should be exposed and I think that leads to what we like to call this ‘melting pot’ experience, and as we learn more skills about everyone’s different ethnicities and heritages, I think that leads to a unified experience in America,” he mentioned.

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