Klobuchar, Franken hail retiring MN National Guard leader

Note: This post has been updated to add Rep. John Kline’s statement. – DW

WASHINGTON — Maj. Gen. Larry Shellito’s decision to retire from his post as adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard prompted warm words from Washington today.

Shellito, who joined the Guard in 1973, will retire effective Oct. 31 at the end of his seven-year term of office. Gov. Tim Pawlenty said today he will name a replacement by August.

Both Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, as well as Rep. John Kline, released statements praising Shellito’s service. They are reprinted below.

Klobuchar:

I join with all Minnesotans in honoring the service of Major General Larry Shellito. He is a leader who has always been dedicated to his mission and to the well-being of the men and women in uniform under his command. In Minnesota, we wrap our arms around our veterans, and General Shellito certainly deserves a giant embrace from all Minnesotans for his service and leadership.

General Shellito has led the Minnesota National Guard through a time of unprecedented challenges, with Minnesota Guard members deployed throughout the world, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. With his leadership, he has shown the nation that we have one of the premier National Guard organizations in the country.

I have had the great honor to work closely with General Shellito to ensure that our Guard members have the resources and support they need to carry out their missions, whether in Minnesota or overseas, and to transition successfully back to civilian life upon their return. We worked together to get our Red Bulls the benefits they deserved for their historic service. We have also worked together to strengthen and expand Minnesota’s Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program so its important services are available to returning Guard members and their families.

General Shellito, already a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, will now once again transition from warrior to veteran, from general to grandfather, from commander to father. His wife, Evonne, and his family have always been there for him. His service has been their service, too. We thank all of them for their sacrifice and dedication.

Franken:

I’d like to express my appreciation for Major General Shellito’s leadership of our state’s outstanding National Guard during a time of great change. The men and women of the Minnesota National Guard perform every mission with excellence. Major General Shellito has led them through historic deployments, and under his leadership the Minnesota Guard’s Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration program has become a national model for welcoming our brave young men and women home from war. One of the great privileges I’ve had as a Senator is the opportunity to support the Guard, and I’ve enjoyed working closely with Major General Shellito. I wish him the best and look forward to continuing to support the Guard in every way I can.

Kline:

Under General Shellito’s guidance, the Minnesota National Guard has been widely regarded within military circles as one of the finest, if not the finest National Guard unit in the country. It was a testament to General Shellito’s leadership that the Minnesota Guard was recognized earlier this year as the top performing Army National Guard organization in the country. The MNG has consistently met or exceeded recruiting and retention goals and distinguished themselves in their service in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, and around the world.

As a 25-year Marine Corps veteran and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I commend General Larry Shellito for his outstanding service to the great state of Minnesota and our country. He will be missed as a friend and great servant of our state and our nation.

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