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National Guard dual-status commander appointed for wildfires

DENVER — Thursday, June 13, 2013 — Gov. John Hickenlooper today selected a Dual-Status Commander, in agreement with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, to support wildfire response and relief efforts in Colorado.


Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Peter J. Byrne was appointed Dual-Status Commander and will work with fire incident commanders.


When agreed upon by the secretary of defense and the governor of an affected state, Dual-Status Commanders can direct federal active-duty and reserve forces, and state National Guard forces in response to domestic incidents.


“The Dual-Status Commander will help provide unity of command and effort,” Hickenlooper said. “This coordinated effort will help support our wildfire responses. We thank everyone for their extraordinary efforts to help protect lives and property.”


The governor today received a dual status command briefing at the incident command center for the Black Forest Fire.


Byrne serves as the director of the Joint Staff, Joint Force Headquarters-Colorado National Guard; and the commander of the standing Joint Task Force - Centennial.


“Brig. Gen. Byrne served as our nation’s first Dual-Status Commander, appointed for an operational mission, during last summer’s fires,” said Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, the Adjutant General of Colorado and commander of the Colorado National Guard.“I am fully confident in his abilities and I know he’ll do a great job for our military forces and the citizens of Colorado.”


Currently, 140 personnel from the Colorado National Guard are continuing to assist civil authorities with firefighting support at the Black Forest fire in El Paso County, Colo.; in addition to multiple resources and personnel from the U.S. Air Force Academy; Peterson Air Force Base; Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station; Buckley Air Force Base; Fort Carson; the 145th Air Expeditionary Group, North Carolina Air National Guard; and the Air Force Reserve’s 302nd Airlift Wing.