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Gov. Jerry Brown picks David Baldwin to lead California National Guard

April 9, 2011 | 12:06 pm

Gov. Jerry Brown picked Col. David Baldwin as the new head of the California National Guard.

Baldwin, a former Guard commander in Afghanistan, is expected to join  Brown during an appearance at a California Cadet Corps celebration in Orange County Saturday.   Baldwin is a 30-year Guard veteran who served as the deputy commanding officer of the 101st Airborne Division's Tactical Command Post in eastern Afghanistan. He is a Stanford graduate, holds masters degrees from the University of California and the United States Army War College.   Baldwin has also served as a spokesman for the state National Guard, dealing with reporters during a 2005 investigation into charges that a battalion of California guardsmen abused detainees and harassed civilians in Iraq and subsequent allegations of domestic spying by state Guard troops.

Baldwin replaces Mary Kight, who was the first woman and first African American to lead the more than 22,000 Army and Air National Guard members. Under Kight’s leadership, the Guard was embroiled in scandal.  Federal authorities are investigating claims of fraud involving up to $100 million in student loan repayments and cash bonuses handed out as recruitment incentives, in the wake of reports of possible fraud by the Sacramento Bee. Top Guard officials have also been accused of receiving double and triple pay.

The problems of the state National Guard were the subject of a state Senate hearing in Sacramento last month. Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman and state Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) said at that hearing, "You have to change the attitude, the personality of the Guard in California.”

-- Anthony York

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