Brewer names OK Guard leader to review Guard
PHOENIX -- An Oklahoma National Guard general has been picked by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to review allegations of misconduct, lax discipline and a corrupt climate in the Arizona National Guard.
Brewer announced Maj. Gen. Ricky Adams' appointment in a commentary published Wednesday in The Arizona Republic. She said she wanted an accounting of events documented last month in what she called a ``disturbing'' series of stories by the newspaper.
The Republic series exposed a raft of criminal offenses and ethical breaches in recent years among the Arizona Guard's roughly 8,000 soldiers and airmen. The Arizona Guard also has seen high-level feuding that recently led to dismissals of several top commanders.
``I need answers, and I'm going to get them,'' Brewer wrote. ``I've called for a full, fair and independent review of Arizona National Guard operations, including personnel, disciplinary procedures and the handling of recent cases and allegations of misconduct.''
``But I also recognize we cannot rush to judgment in assuming the worst about the Arizona National Guard and its members,'' she added.
Recent Republic stories exposed a checkerboard of corruption that included sexual abuse and harassment, embezzlement, forgery, drug smuggling, firearms violations and whistleblower retaliation. It was based on based on military documents, police records and interviews.
In August, the Republic reported on the dismissal of Brig. Gen. Michael Colangelo as head of the Arizona's Air National Guard by top state Guard commander Maj. Gen. Hugo Salazar. The firing came after Colangelo dismissed two subordinates for misconduct. Colangelo and some other officers say the Guard functions as a ``good old boy'' network that suffers from fraternization and other ethical lapses within the chain of command.
Salazar has previously acknowledged that a rogue climate developed among recruiters, including some who sexually abused high-school students. According to investigative records, soldiers in the unit also drove military vehicles through north Phoenix humiliating homeless people, including shooting them with paint balls.
Salazar has complained that the Guard is being unfairly tainted by a few rogue soldiers. He said problems were addressed, discipline was meted out and reforms were imposed.
``As commander in chief, I owe it to Arizonans and our service members to find the truth,'' Brewer wrote. ``Only then can I determine if issues of misconduct at the Arizona National Guard are isolated or systemic in nature and whether discipline has been handed down appropriately.''
Adams is deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command for the Army National Guard. His military career spans more than three decades. More recently, Adams was assistant adjutant general of the Oklahoma Army National Guard.