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Dec-08-2008 14:07printcomments

Oregon Air Guard's First African-American General is Promoted (PHOTOS)

Maj. Gen. Dean is Oregon's first African-American two-star. He also was the first African-American Guardsmen in Oregon to attain the rank of colonel, and eventually, brigadier general.


Lt. Gen. Ronald F. Sams, United States Air Force Inspector General, administers the oath to Deputy Inspector General for the U.S. Air Force, Maj. Gen. Garry C. Dean, during his promotion ceremony, Dec. 8, 2008, at the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Air Force photos by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - A 13-year member of the Oregon Air National Guard was promoted to major general during a ceremony at the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes, Dec. 8th 2008, here.

Maj. Gen. Garry C. Dean, who has been working with the Air Force Inspector General's office at the Pentagon since February 2008, drew accolades from his colleagues and supervisors during the morning ceremony.

"He defines total force," said Lt. Gen. Ronald F. Sams, Inspector General of the Air Force. "Garry Dean is a highly-experienced commander who served in numerous positions throughout the Oregon Guard and the Air Force, all of which accents his leadership resume."

Indeed, Maj. Gen. Dean has held several high profile positions during his tenure in the Oregon Air National Guard, including wing commander, deputy of operations and assistant adjutant general at Joint Forces Headquarters-Oregon. Before coming to the Air Force Inspector General's office, Maj. Gen. Dean also served as assistant to the commander at 1st Air Force.

"He is my most trusted advisor," Lt . Gen. Sams added. "We're keeping him forever."

Col. Ronald Kessinger, Chief of Staff for Air, Oregon National Guard, said Maj. Gen. Dean's promotion is well-deserved.

"He's one of those guys that comes along once in a while," Col. Kessinger said. "He's a strategic visionary, and a great example to follow."


Maj. Gen. Dean thanked his coworkers, mentors and supervisors in Oregon as well as at the Pentagon for the chance to serve as a major general.

"This is an awesome honor to be considered for this rank," he said. "But I'm especially proud of my Air Guard heritage, and it's very humbling to see my Oregon Air Guard brothers here supporting me."

Maj. Gen. Dean said he often thinks about the Oregon Guard, and his fellow guardsmen there.

"As I work with my active duty brothers, I'm so proud of the job we do back there," he said. "I think about you all the time while I'm out here serving at the Pentagon."

Maj. Gen. Dean invited other Guardsmen to consider what they can do to help out with the total force concept.

"Come and join us out here," Maj. Gen. Dean said. "The work we do here is very important, and I'm proud of everyone who is willing to serve here with us and support the total force concept.

Maj. Gen. Dean is Oregon's first African-American two-star. He also was the first African-American Guardsmen in Oregon to attain the rank of colonel, and eventually, brigadier general. His 30 year career spans various command positions in the active duty Air Force as well as the Air National Guard, with 13 years as a member of the Oregon Air Guard. Here is Salem-New.com's exclusive report on Garry Dean being promoted to Brig. General in 2006: Exclusive- Oregon National Guard Fighter Pilot Promoted to General




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Miles Maynard November 26, 2009 9:39 am (Pacific time)

Gen. Dean was my T-38 flight instructor at Reese AFB in 1981. He was a great inspiration to myself and the other African American Sutdent Pilots.

Editor: Miles, thanks for sharing those thoughts.  We were very glad to be able to cover this, and the other news media in Oregon was sleeping on this day, so sadly you are looking at the only coverage of the event.   On a side note,  I was contacted by a film company after this article came out, about a movie on the WWI pilot Eugene Bullard, the only African-American pilot of WWI, and they were interested in meeting Gen. Dean and talking to him about it.  Unfortunately the Oregon Guard never got any of my messages to him, and the window on that closed.  Bullard is an amazing character and if you don't know about the new book, please check this out: Book Review: Eugene Bullard - Black Expatriate in Jazz-Age Paris     


JB December 9, 2008 12:40 pm (Pacific time)

Another wonderful African-American accomplishment. Congratulations to him and his family.

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