New head for state National Guard

The Associated Press

PHOENIX _ The man set to take over the Arizona National Guard said the guard's role is gaining importance with the cuts being made in the U.S. military.

"The downsizing of the military has increased reliance on both the Army and the Air National Guard," said Maj. Gen. Glen W. Van Dyke, who took over the Guard during a ceremony Sunday at Sky Harbor International Airport. "The Guard will be more combat-oriented and less support-oriented."

The Tucson native and former commander of the Arizona Air National Guard since 1990 still must be confirmed by the state Senate.

The challenge will be to ensure that cuts don't affect its mission, said Van Dyke, 54.

The Arizona Guard has lost a military-police company based in Yuma and a field-artillery battalion based in Tucson and more cuts are being contemplated, officials said.

As adjutant general, Van Dyke also will serve as director of the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs.

Van Dyke took over for Maj. Gen. Donald L. Owens, who led the Guard for 10 years. Read Next Article