CHEYENNE — The leadership of the Wyoming National Guard was passed on Friday, as longtime Maj. Gen. Luke Reiner was named Wyoming's new adjutant general.
Reiner succeeds retiring Wyoming Adjutant General Ed Wright, who was named a three-star general — the state's first in more than two decades — during the change-in-command ceremony at the Little America Hotel and Resort in Cheyenne.
Reiner, a 29-year veteran of the Army National Guard, most recently served as chief of the joint staff at the Joint Force Headquarters in Cheyenne.
As Wyoming's 25th adjutant general, Reiner will command the 3,100 soldiers and airmen in the Wyoming National Guard.
In his acceptance remarks, Reiner said he would work to continue the National Guard's value system and said he had a special interest in the Guard's Starbase youth learning program.
The biggest threat to the National Guard, he said, is the sluggish national economy, which in turn puts state and federal funding at risk. He noted a recent proposal to cut 49,000 positions from the U.S. Army and said the National Guard would have to make up for any such reductions.
"As the National Guard, we have come on line and said, 'Don't cut us,'" Reiner said. "We are very good at what we do, and we do it for about one-third of the cost of the active-duty" troops.
Reiner lauded the current state of the Wyoming National Guard, giving credit to Wright for his innovations and organization skills.
"His legacy is that of a battle-hardened, lean organization prepared to lead our state and our federal missions," Reiner said.
Wright, who is retiring from the Guard after serving as state adjutant general for eight years, was honored Friday with a promotion to three-star general. Wright is the first member of the Wyoming National Guard to achieve that rank since former Adjutant General James Spence, who retired in 1985.
He was also awarded the Wyoming National Guard's Distinguished Service Medal.
Wright said his tenure as adjutant general has been punctuated by two issues: wars overseas and transformation of the Guard from a reserve force to an operational force.
As adjutant general, Wright oversaw expansion of training facilities at Camp Guernsey and Cheyenne. He also led the Guard during deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
"You have achieved what I ask of Gen. Reiner," Gov. Matt Mead told Wright at Friday's ceremony. "In a word, excellence."