From cook to general, Fore does it all

Published 6:00 am Saturday, March 6, 2021

Being a brigadier general in the National Guard would be enough of an accomplishment for most, but for Farmville’s William G. “Buckie” Fore Jr., the honor is only a small part of his multifaceted life of service to his nation and his community.

Fore has worked at The Farmville Herald longer than he served in the Guard. In fact, it was Herald publisher J. Barrye Wall who suggested Fore join the National Guard when he was a senior in high school.

“I could not have done everything that I did in the military had it not been for the support that I got from the Wall family there at the newspaper,” Fore said. “If I had to go, the only thing I had to do was go to one of the Walls and tell them I had to be gone for however long it was.”

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And Fore did a whole lot as a member of the National Guard for more than 35 years.   

From a rifleman to chief cook to brigadier general, Fore had a meteoric rise in the Guard while raising a family and holding down a full-time job.

“I have done it all,” Fore said. “Everything from run a kitchen to run an infantry company, an artillery battery. I have done all the staff work, except an intelligence officer.”

Fore began his National Guard duty as a rifleman, then quickly advanced to automatic rifleman before being asked to serve as a team leader in the kitchen. Then he went back to the field as a forward observer in artillery before becoming a lieutenant commander.

From there, Fore held a variety of duties and titles, including second lieutenant, first lieutenant, captain, unit commander, staff officer at the battalion level, major, training officer, battalion commander, lieutenant colonel, executive of the Staunton brigade and chief of staff of the division when he was promoted to a full colonel.

Training young soldiers was one of the things Fore enjoyed the most during his time in the Guard.

“My forte was training,” Fore said. “I enjoyed my years as a trainer.”

While in the Guard, Fore said some of the highlights for him were talking with a young Colin Powell at Fort Bragg and defeating a Russian army heavy armor unit with only a light infantry in a computer-generated map exercise.

“Our division, a light infantry division, defeated the Russian army in that particular battle, which was a really, really big plus for the division,” Fore said.

Fore served in the National Guard all the way up to the mandatory retirement age of 55 years and 30 days old.

“The army has a system of getting rid of old guys. You go as far as you can go. If there is no place for you, you have to get out so the young ones can come on,” he said. “That’s kind of what happened to me.”

“On the day that I retired, I was promoted to brigadier general by the state of Virginia and retired for pay purposes as a full colonel,” he said.

Six months after returning home from duty, Fore found himself back at The Herald as a part-time advertising representative, a position he still holds 25 years later.

But Fore also found other ways to serve the community with a career in local government as a member of the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors.

“After I came home from Belvoir, I had several people tell me, ‘You need to run for the Board of Supervisors. We need you,’” Fore said.

He unseated an incumbent who had been on the board for years and served four terms representing the Buffalo District. Fore served as chair for nine of the 16 years he was on the board.

“I think we did a tremendous amount of good,” Fore said of his time on the board. “It was a very hard 16 years for me. I took my job very seriously. Although we had several controversial issues, I think those years that I served on the board were fruitful for the county.”

Fore said his experience gained as a member of the National Guard helped him with everything he did as a civilian.

“Everything from decision-making to writing, I attribute it all to my military experience,” Fore said.

Overall, Fore said there is nothing he would change about his life as a member of the National Guard but said the frequent weekends away meant some missed family time.

“I missed an awful lot of birthdays. I missed an awful lot of school events. I missed an awful lot of things that go on. There was always something else,” Fore said. “Though I regret that, it is part of being a soldier.

“I was a soldier then, and I still consider myself a soldier.”

To see the full Salute to Veterans edition click here.