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Editorial: General has served our state admirably

Maj. Gen. Larry Shellito, who has commanded over the largest deployment of the Minnesota National Guard since WWII, has announced his retirement. He will step down Oct. 31 as the state adjutant general.

Maj. Gen. Larry Shellito, who has commanded over the largest deployment of the Minnesota National Guard since WWII, has announced his retirement. He will step down Oct. 31 as the state adjutant general.

Shellito, who reaches retirement age of 65 in August, would have faced age and time constraints if he had reappointed to a second seven-year term.

The general has performed admirably throughout his appointment. It has not been an easy assignment.

As he first took command in 2003, Minnesota National Guard units were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those deployments have increased both in length and in frequency.

In fact, members of the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Division were deployed and served the longest of any unit deployed to Iraq.

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Under Shellito's command, more than 18,000 Minnesota airmen and soldiers have been sent overseas. About 2,700 soldiers from the state will soon be deployed to Iraq and Kuwait to support the drawdown of America troops in the region.

The general also commanded the Guard during the state's response to the collapse of the Interstate 35W Bridge in Minneapolis as well as floods and fire events around the state.

Shellito's military career goes back to his enlistment in the U.S. Army in 1968. After his commission as a second lieutenant in 1969, he was sent to Vietnam in 1970. He joined the Minnesota Army National Guard in 1973 and has served since in various roles.

Minnesota has been fortunate to have his leadership in place in challenging times. West central Minnesota thanks Shellito for his service as well as his leadership.

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