For the first time in nearly 14 years, the state has a new adjutant general of the Louisiana National Guard.
Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Thursday that Brig. Gen. Glenn Curtis is taking Bennett Landreneau’s place as head of the 11,500-member Louisiana Army and Air National Guard.
“I am confident he will carry on Gen. Landreneau’s legacy of strong leadership,” Jindal said of Curtis.
The change in leadership took effect Thursday. Curtis’ appointment still must be confirmed by the Louisiana Senate.
Jindal said the Pentagon would be notified.
Landreneau, 64, is retiring after advising three governors and helping lead the response to such storms as hurricanes Katrina and Gustav.
Clad in fatigues and wearing sunglasses, Landreneau was featured on the cover of Jindal’s book, “Leadership and Crisis,” along with the head of State Police and a top aide.
The governor emphasized the Louisiana National Guard’s importance to the state.
“Every emergency and challenge we faced as a state, Gen. Landreneau and the National Guard were in the middle helping us respond,” Jindal said.
In retirement, Landreneau said he plans to spend time at his central Louisiana farm.
He said he will miss serving “shoulder to shoulder” with members of the Louisiana National Guard.
During a news conference at the Governor’s Mansion, Jindal lauded Landreneau as the nation’s current longest-serving adjutant general. “Benny’s become a dear friend, a trusted adviser,” the governor said.
Before his promotion, Curtis was director of the Joint Staff for the Louisiana National Guard, working as a chief adviser and principal assistant to Landreneau.
Curtis, 49, began serving as an enlisted member of the Louisiana National Guard in 1982. He received his commission in 1984.
He served in Iraq and has been awarded a Bronze Star medal.
“Gen. Curtis is an outstanding leader and soldier,” Landreneau said.
Curtis said he will maintain the same “can do” attitude that Landreneau did.
Landreneau’s tenure as adjutant general dated to the Foster administration.
Jindal reappointed Landreneau four years ago against his advisers’ recommendation for new Louisiana National Guard leadership. Five retired generals recommended Maj. Gen. John Basilica instead of Landreneau.
Among their allegations was that Landreneau did not properly prepare in the days before Hurricane Katrina made landfall in 2005.
Katrina unleashed a political nightmare for former Gov. Kathleen Blanco and former President George W. Bush as the nation watched footage of hurricane victims stranded on the sides of the interstate outside New Orleans.
The former generals also claimed Landreneau’s four children and two sons-in-law often received promotions over more-qualified peers.
Landreneau denounced the allegations and threatened to take legal action.
The governor was steadfast in his support of Landreneau.