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Governor Appoints First African-American Woman as General of National Guard

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Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced the appointment of Brigadier General Mary J. Kight as the first female adjutant general of the California National Guard and first African-American female National Guard adjutant general in the nation. He also thanked General William H. Wade II for his years of dedicated service.

“Brigadier General Mary Kight is a proven courageous, loyal and honorable leader. She has a long and distinguished history of service to our state and nation and I am proud to have her as the first female adjutant general of our military forces here in California,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “I am confident that with General Kight's leadership, the California National Guard will continue to be fully prepared, standing ready and able to assist our local communities and our country when called upon in times of emergency.”

General Kight has served the California National Guard for nearly 25 years. She has been assistant adjutant general since 2006 and previously held the positions of assistant adjutant general, air for the California National Guard Headquarters from 2004 to 2006, 201st Mission Support Squadron detach commander for all members on Title 10 from 2001 to 2004, 144th Mission Support Group commander in Fresno from 1999 to 2004 and first aircraft generation squadron commander for the 144th Fighter Wing from 1994 to 1998. Prior to that, Kight was an aircraft maintenance officer from 1990 to 1994, a field maintenance officer from 1987 to 1990 and an avionics maintenance officer from 1984 to 1987. She was a wing executive officer for the Nebraska Air National Guard from 1981 to 1984 and served the U.S. Air Force from 1974 to 1981.

“I whole-heartedly share in the Governor’s commitment to public safety and ensuring that our armed forces are well-trained and equipped to provide support and assistance here in California and abroad at a moment’s notice,” said General Kight. “I am honored to take on this new position serving the California National Guard as adjutant general and I look forward to using my knowledge and experience to uphold California’s military forces’ outstanding legacy of service.”

General Kight, 59, of Sacramento, earned a Master of Strategic Studies from Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, a Master of Science degree in human resources management from Gonzaga University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in social welfare from California State University, Chico and an Associate of Arts degree in general studies from Monterey Peninsula College. She also graduated from Squadron Officers School, Air Command and Staff College and Air War College. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $180,201. Kight is a Republican.

The Governor also thanked General William H. Wade II for his years of dedicated service to the California National Guard as he transitions to his newly selected position as deputy chief of staff for operations, Joint Forces Command-Naples, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Response Force, Naples, Italy.

“Major General Wade has been an exceptional leader of the California National Guard, working to keep our state and nation safe and our men and women in uniform trained for success,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “On behalf of all Californians, I thank Major General Wade for his service to our state and extend my best wishes for an exciting and fulfilling future as he represents and serves our country with NATO.”

The Military Department is responsible for the command, leadership and management of the California Army and Air National Guard whose purpose is to provide military service support to California as well as the nation. The California National Guard protects the public safety of the people of California by providing military support to civil authorities during natural disasters and other emergencies, and provides support to the local communities. These services are provided through 118 armories, four Air National Guard air bases and four Army Aviation flight facilities located throughout California. The California National Guard is the largest National Guard force in the United States, with an assigned strength of approximately 16,606 Army National Guard and 4,757 Air National Guard members. Of these 21,363 men and women, 1,975 are currently deployed and since September 11, 2001, more than 32,449 California National Guard personnel have been deployed both at home and abroad.

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