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Hatfield to Retire as Virginia War Memorial Executive Director, Army Historian Mountcastle to Succeed Hatfield

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Jon C. Hatfield
John C. Mountcastle

(Richmond, Va.) The Virginia Department of Veterans Services today announced the following changes in the leadership of the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond:

 Jon C. Hatfield, the Memorial’s Executive Director, will retire effective June 15, 20l6.

 John C. Mountcastle will succeed Hatfield as Executive Director.

Hatfield was appointed as the first Executive Director of the Virginia War Memorial in 1997.  He was instrumental in changing the Memorial from a static facility with fewer than 10,000 visitors a year to a dynamic education center where visitation topped 70,000 last year.  A highlight of his tenure was the opening of the 18,000 square foot Paul and Phyllis Galanti Education Center in 2010.

Hatfield has been the key player in the next evolution of the Memorial – a 20,000 square foot project, scheduled to break ground this summer, which will expand the Shrine of Memory, build additional education space, and add an underground parking garage to help accommodate the many visitors to the Memorial.

“Jon Hatfield’s 20 year legacy of dedicated stewardship to the Virginia War Memorial has positioned it as the premier state war memorial in the United States,” said John L. Newby II, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services. “Under his leadership, annual visitation to the Memorial has grown more than 500%.”

From the start, Hatfield made education a top priority for the Memorial, establishing seminars for students and teachers, producing the “Virginians at War” film series that support Virginia’s standards of learning; and creating innovative new educational tools like the “Into Battle” near-virtual reality program at the Memorial.  At the same time, he oversaw the creation of Smithsonian-quality exhibits and displays.

Mountcastle joins the Virginia War Memorial after serving as Assistant Professor of Military History at U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Lee, Va.  He is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and earned his PhD in history at Duke University.  He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after 21 years of service in the U.S. Army.

“As an experienced leader, educator, and military historian, John Mountcastle is uniquely qualified to step into this new role to continue to fulfill the Virginia War Memorial’s mission of Honoring our Veterans, Preserving our History, Educating our Youth, and Instilling Patriotism in All,” noted Commissioner Newby.

“While Jon Hatfield can never be replaced, he will surely be missed,” said Delegate John O’Bannon III, Chairman of the Virginia War Memorial. “Thank you, Jon, for your many years of total dedication to Virginia’s War Memorial and our veterans.”

Added Rear Admiral John Hekman, Executive Director of the Virginia War Memorial Foundation, I have had the pleasure of working with Jon Hatfield for 17 years as a trustee, volunteer, and Foundation director. He is by all measures a ‘man for all seasons,’ a man of herculean vision, and a truly unique ability to marshal all to his cause. He was the veteran’s veteran. He cared and it showed. I will greatly miss his counsel.”

About the Virginia War Memorial

The mission of the Virginia War Memorial is to Honor Veterans, Preserve History, Educate Youth and Instill Patriotism in All. Dedicated in 1956 and celebrating its 60th anniversary, the Memorial includes the names of the nearly 12,000 Virginia heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and the Global War on Terrorism.

The Memorial is situated on over four acres overlooking downtown Richmond. It is a division of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services and serves as an integral part of its mission in support of all Virginians who served in our military forces. Please visit or Facebook/virginiawarmemorial for additional details.

About the Virginia Department of Veterans Services

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (VDVS) operates 26 benefit services offices that assist veterans and their family members in filing claims for federal veterans benefits; two long-term care facilities offering nursing, assisted living, and domiciliary care for veterans, and three veterans cemeteries that provide an honored final resting place for veterans and their families. VDVS provides veterans and family members with direct linkages to needed services including behavioral healthcare, housing, employment, education, and other programs. The Department operates the Virginia War Memorial, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s monument to honor the memory of Virginia’s men and women who demonstrated a willingness to serve and fight to defend our way of life from World War II to the present.

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