Four Selected for Colonel
LEXINGTON, Va., April 18, 2013 – Four members of the VMI community have recently been selected for colonel in either the U.S. Army Reserve or the National Guard.
Lt. Col. Gary A. Bissell ’89 is commander of the 1st Battalion, 320th Regiment in Abingdon, Va., a unit of the Army Reserve. He is currently earning a master’s degree in strategic studies from the Army War College and expects to complete that degree in July. Bissell has served in the Army for 24 years, including four years of active duty. His active duty career included postings to Korea and Germany.
Bissell has worked for VMI since 1998, and has served in his current position, deputy chief of staff and operations, since 2010.
Col. Mitch Fridley ’89 is now director of instruction for the 3rd Brigade, 104th Division, at Ft. Belvoir, Va., having recently completed a three-year assignment as a battalion commander. Beginning this summer, Fridley will attend the resident Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa.
Fridley has served in the Army for 23 years, with seven of those years spent on active duty. He served in Germany and in Kuwait as an intelligence officer in the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment during the Persian Gulf War and then with the 1st Cavalry Division in the early 1990s. He served a year tour as the assistant joint operations officer for the Multi-National Security and Transition Command Iraq in 2005 and 2006.
Fridley has worked at VMI since 2001, serving first as assistant commandant and now as deputy commandant.
Lt. Col. Adam Volant ’88, a 15-year veteran of the National Guard, serves with the 29th Division as a primary staff officer. Prior to that, he was commander of the cyber unit and computer network operations unit in Fairfax, Va.
Volant is also a veteran of the U.S. Army. He began his Army career straight out of high school, serving as crew chief on a Black Hawk helicopter. After three years, he enrolled at VMI. After graduating from the Institute, Volant commissioned in the Army and served an additional seven years.
Volant will soon begin the distance education program for the Army War College while remaining at VMI and continuing in his civilian role as executive vice president of the VMI Alumni Association.
Lt. Col. John J. Wranek III ’85 is deputy commander of the 183rd Regiment at Ft. Pickett, Va. He began his military career with the National Guard after graduating from VMI. He was deployed overseas to the Balkans in 2001 and 2002 with the 29th Infantry Division, where he served as assistant division engineer in support of Operation Joint Forge. From 2010 to 2011, Wranek was deployed again, this time to Afghanistan, as a division engineer with the International Security Assistance Force.
Wranek serves as major gifts officer for the VMI Foundation.