Three Top National Guard Leaders Fired

Three leaders of the Alaska National Guard have been fired from their positions.

The removal of Brig. General Catherine Jorgensen, Brig. Gen. Donald Wenke, and Col. Edith Grunwald was announced Monday night, and came at the direction of Gov. Sean Parnell.

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In an appearance on Talk of Alaska Tuesday morning, Parnell declined to give specifics on the staffing change, citing personnel confidentiality. He did say the decision related to an investigation done by the National Guard Bureau’s Office of Complex Investigations. The findings were released in September, and they described cronyism, fraud, and the mishandling of sexual assault.

“The report was pretty scathing with respect to the troops and the airmen not having confidence in their leadership. And clearly that played a role in this,” said Parnell.

Two of the leaders targeted for removal were already fired earlier this month, only to be rehired within a day.

Jorgenson, who has served as chief of staff for the Alaska National Guard, and Grunwald, who directed human resources, were slashed from their positions by Acting Adjutant General Mike Bridges. At the time, Bridges said were reinstated at Parnell’s direction to avoid the perception of impropriety because both – along with Bridges – had applied for the Guard’s top position.

All three of the removed leaders had applications in with the Governor’s Office for the position of Adjutant General as of Friday. They are no longer under consideration for the post.