Maj Gen Edwards retires after 43 years of service

  • Published
  • By CENTENNIAL, Colo.
  • Colorado National Guard

The 42nd Adjutant General of Colorado U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, retires March 31, after 43 years of military service, including 36 years in the Colorado Air National Guard.


A retirement ceremony in General Edwards’ honor, attended by civilian and military dignitaries, will take place at Hangar 801, Buckley Air Force Base, Aurora, April 2, at 2:30 p.m.


“For the past 43 years, our entire nation has benefited from the distinguished and noble service of General Edwards,” Governor John Hickenlooper said. “Coloradans will long remember him as one of the most accomplished adjutants general in our state’s history. Veterans across our state will long benefit from his tireless efforts to serve those who have served. General Edwards represents the best of our nation’s military, and we are forever grateful for his service to Colorado and our country.”


“It's truly been a privilege to lead the Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen-Airmen serving in the Colorado National Guard, the men and women volunteering in the Colorado Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, and those who serve the veterans of Colorado. My wife, Laury, and I also want to express our sincere appreciation for the wonderful opportunity to assist the people of the great state of Colorado," Edwards said.


Edwards grew up in Lyman, Neb.  He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy, which commissioned him as a second lieutenant June 6, 1973. A command pilot with more than 4,600 military flight hours, including 135 combat hours, he has flown the A-7, AT-38, C-21, F-4, F-16, T-37 and T-38 aircraft.


Edwards has served as Adjutant General since 2007, when he became the state’s top military commander.  Edwards has been responsible for the administration of more than 5,300 Colorado Army and Air National Guard members conducting both state and federal missions. The National Guard is the first military responder during domestic emergencies and, as the U.S. Army’s and U.S. Air Force’s combat reserve, deploys overseas in support of the war fight.


A member of the governor’s cabinet, Edwards simultaneously served as Executive Director of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, which provides guidance and support to its three divisions: Veterans Affairs; National Guard; Civil Air Patrol.


Edwards protected the Veterans Trust Fund from dissolution during the economic downturn, while ensuring repayment.  He also administered the Veterans Assistance Grant program, adding a second critical grant stream to help veterans. Under Edwards, reimbursements for county Veterans Service Officers rose from slightly over $1 per hour to above minimum wage, creating more access for veterans needing assistance in filing claims for federal benefits.


During his tenure as Adjutant General, more than 6,000 CONG Citizen-Soldiers and Citizen-Airmen have mobilized in support of overseas contingency operations. He also oversaw the CONG’s record-setting response to some of the worst natural disasters impacting Colorado, including the High Park Fire and the Waldo Canyon Fire during 2012, followed by the Black Forest Fire and historic flooding along the Colorado Front Range in 2013.


Additionally, Edwards was instrumental in bringing a new National Guard cyber protection team to Colorado, bolstering the state’s cyber defenses. He also diversified the CONG through the appointment of its first female general officer.


Over a period of 10 years, Edwards significantly grew the CONG’s enduring relationships with the Republic of Slovenia and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan under the National Guard State Partnership Program.  The SPP military-to-military exchanges have supported Combatant Command security cooperation objectives, promoted regional stability, and increased partner capacity and interoperability.


Edwards has also overseen the missions of the Civil Air Patrol's Colorado Wing, consisting of more than 1,600 volunteers.


Under Edwards’ leadership, the CAP took on a bigger role in state response, flying fire watch and conducting flood damage surveys. Colorado’s CAP was first to fly support of the U.S. Army’s on-base unmanned aerial systems operations.


Edwards said that he plans to retire in Colorado.


On March 31, Hickenlooper announced his appointment of U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael A. Loh as Colorado’s new Adjutant General and Executive Director of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.  Loh has 33 years of military service.  He currently serves as the National Guard Assistant to the Commander, Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va.  Loh graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering.  After serving as an F-16 fighter pilot with the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and an instructor pilot at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., he joined the COANG in 1991.  He held command, staff, and supervisory positions including COANG Assistant Adjutant General-Air, Air National Guard Council Chairman, Group Commander and Squadron Commander. He deployed multiple times to both the Pacific and Central Command regions and commanded combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Loh more recently served as the Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, and as Guard Assistant to the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.


Loh’s appointment is effective April 10, 2017.


CONG equipment will be on display in the hangar during the ceremony.