Gov. Chris Gregoire has appointed a new adjutant general for the Washington National Guard – its first new leader in 13 years.
Brig. Gen. Bret Daugherty of Federal Way will take over from Maj. Gen. Timothy Lowenberg, who’s retiring after 44 years of military service.
“It was a deeply humbling experience,” Daugherty said in an interview after Monday’s announcement. “I’m very honored to be considered for the position, let alone offered it.”
Gregoire said Daugherty has the skills and leadership qualities critical to the long-term success of the National Guard, whose mission has been split in recent years between wartime military duty and preparing for emergencies back home.
“His record of experience and impressive background will serve the state well,” Gregoire said. “He leads both by serving and by building a strong team around him.”
Daugherty, 53, has more than 32 years of military experience, including 22 years in the Washington National Guard.
He’s currently the Guard’s assistant adjutant general. After his promotion, he will be commander for all Washington Army and Air National Guard forces, as well as director for the state’s emergency management and enhanced 911 programs.
The Guard has more than 8,500 soldiers, airmen and civilian employees.
Daugherty’s new position also calls for him to serve as U.S. Homeland Security adviser to the governor and administrator for all Homeland Security grants awarded to Washington state.
Daugherty said he looks forward to his new responsibilities, and that he hopes to emulate his predecessor.
“I have been very fortunate to have Gen. Lowenberg as a mentor,” Daugherty said. “I’m very excited to fill this new role, but I’m also cognizant of the size of shoes I have to fill.”
While the leadership at the Washington National Guard is changing, Daugherty does not expect its role to shift, even with the war in Iraq over and the war in Afghanistan drawing to an end.
“As the (active-duty military) component reduces in size, the National Guard will remain as a cost-effective solution,” he said.
A combat brigade of citizen soldiers from Washington deployed twice to Iraq, in 2004-05 and in 2008-09. The Pentagon earlier this year removed the brigade from a roster of units being considered for upcoming overseas tours.
Daugherty said deployments of other Guard units are scheduled through 2013.
He may have to deal with angry neighbors at home, with the construction of a new gate at Camp Murray facing stiff opposition from the Tillicum neighborhood in Lakewood.
Tillicum residents say constructing the gate will increase “cut-through” traffic in their neighborhood. Daugherty said that while there is still one appeal pending, he expects the gate to be completed by September.
“We’re committed to being good neighbors, and we’re hoping we can get past this bit of controversy,” Daugherty said.
The official change-of-command ceremony between Lowenberg and Daugherty will take place Saturday at 10 a.m. at the 66th Theater Aviation Command readiness center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.zach.smith@ thenewstribune.com 253-597-8670