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Governor names 140th WG commander as new Adjutant General

DENVER -- Gov. Bill Ritter today nominated Brig. Gen. H. Michael Edwards to become the new adjutant general and executive director of the Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. He will replace retiring Maj. Gen. Mason C. Whitney. A change-of-command ceremony is scheduled for March 24.

Since 2002, General Edwards, 55, has served as commander of the 140th Wing, Colorado Air National Guard at Buckley Air Force Base, supervising and ensuring the combat readiness of more than 1,400 personnel.

A 34-year military veteran, General Edwards graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy 1973 and joined the Colorado Air National Guard in 1980. He served as director of the Combined Air Operations Center in Qatar in 2003 and is a command pilot with more than 4,500 flying hours, including 140 combat hours enforcing no-fly zones in Iraq. He holds more than two dozen medals, awards and decorations, including the Legion of Merit and Meritorious Service Medal.

"At a time when the country is at war overseas and Colorado military personnel are regularly placed in harm's way, General Edwards will serve his troops and the entire state with distinction and dedication," Governor Ritter said. "All of Colorado can feel confident placing their trust in his judgment and wisdom as he goes about making daily decisions that can carry life-or-death consequences."

Pending Senate confirmation, General Edwards will serve on the governor's Cabinet as adjutant general and executive director of the Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The adjutant general oversees more than 5,400 Colorado Army and Air National Guard members and 2,500 Civil Air Patrol officers, cadets and volunteers.

"I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Governor Ritter for placing his confidence and trust in me by offering the opportunity to continue serving the state of Colorado as the adjutant general," General Edwards said. "I look forward to working for Governor Ritter, continuing the efforts of General Whitney and those who have served before me in ensuring our Colorado National Guard continues to be the premier organization it is, as well as working to represent our veterans as a member of Governor Ritter's Cabinet."

Governor Ritter thanked General Whitney for his seven years of service as Colorado's highest-ranking military commander.

"On behalf of Colorado's military personnel and the people of Colorado, I am grateful for General Whitney's leadership," the governor said. "Time and again, in times of trouble during winter storms, wildfires and other emergencies, General Whitney deployed his personnel to help. The state owes him a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid."