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Published on June 22, 2024
Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh to Lead Washington's Military as Next Adjutant GeneralSource: Washington Military Department Website

Washington state has ushered in a new era of military leadership as Gov. Jay Inslee appointed Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh as the next adjutant general. With 36 years of military tenure, Welsh will head the Washington Army and Air National Guard forces, the Washington Military Department, and also fulfill roles as governor's homeland security advisor and overseer of Homeland Security grants, as release by the Washington Military Department.

In their recent announcement, the department highlighted Welsh's extensive experience, notably his last four years as the military department's deputy director and as commander of the Washington Air National Guard where he led initiatives related to intelligence, cyberspace and special warfare missions, his tenure as chief of staff for the state Military Department from 2014 to 2017, and his leadership as the 194th Wing Commander from 2017 to 2019 he was chief of staff for the state Military Department from 2014 to 2017, and the 194th Wing Commander from 2017 to 2019.

Welsh, who has served as the National Guard advisor to the assistant secretary of the U.S. Air Force for personnel and reserve affairs since 2023, receives praise for readiness to handle emergent threats. "General Welsh is an exceptionally experienced and strategic leader who is ready for the responsibilities demanded of this crucial role," Inslee stated, pinpointing cyber threats and natural disasters among the spectrum of risks the state faces.

The retiring Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty is leaving behind an impactful legacy after more than 40 years of service including the last 12 as adjutant general, he has been recognized for critical leadership during state emergencies such as the SR 530 Landslide in 2013, intense wildfire seasons, and the COVID-19 pandemic during which he spearheaded the mobilization of National Guard personnel to support community health and safety, in 2021 he oversaw the largest federal deployment of Washington Army National Guard soldiers since 2008, with about 2,000 deployed to various global locations including Ukraine, Poland, and Syria. "When he announced his retirement he told the Military Department it had been his ‘greatest honor’ to lead them," recalled Inslee, "The privilege was ours, general."

Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh is set to formally assume his new responsibilities after a Change of Command ceremony at Camp Murray on June 29, marking a significant transition in Washington's state military leadership and emergency management capacity.