African-American Military History: Mary Kight Makes It Again

Three years ago during Black History Month, I wrote a series called “African-American Military History.”  One of the posts in that series was the one depicted below.

Mary J. Kight 2007

Earlier today, Brig Gen Mary J. Kight became the first African-American woman to command a state National Guard organization.  She was sworn in as Adjutant General of California by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.   She now heads California’s 21,000-strong Army and Air National Guard organizations, the largest in the nation.

I had the great privilege of serving at the California Air National Headquarters as a lieutenant colonel and colonel while Mary Kight, at the same ranks was with the 144th Fighter Wing at Fresno.  I heard about her before I met her.  The respect she garnered around the headquarters back then (the mid- to late 1990’s) made it clear that she was an up and c0ming future leader.

General Kight holds masters degrees from Gonzaga University and the Air University.  She also graduated from California State University, Chico, and Monterey Peninsula College in our mutual hometown of Monterey.   A former aircraft maintenance officer, General Kight has had a variety of assignments in the Air Force and Air National Guard over the past thirty-six years.  Since 2004, she has visited a number of the more than 32,000 Californians who have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I last visited with General Kight last September at the retirement ceremony of a mutual acquaintance at Travis Air Force Base.  Gracious and friendly as always, she certainly didn’t let on that she must have known that she would soon make history again.

I salute and congratulate you, General, for your well-earned appointment!

Brig Gen Mary J. KightBrigadier General Mary J. Kight

Adjutant General of California

effective 2 Feb 2010


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