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SDNG Adjutant General announces retirement

South Dakota National Guard

Public Affairs Office

2823 West Main St.

Rapid City, S.D.  57702

PAO 03-2-08

February 18, 2003


by Maj. Fay Ludens

South Dakota National Guard Public Affairs Officer


SDNG Adjutant General announces retirement 

RAPID CITY – Maj. Gen. Philip G. Killey, the South Dakota National Guard’s top official, announced today that he would retire at the end of the month after 40 years of dedicated service.  

Killey, a highly motivated officer who has excelled in every duty assignment, began his career as a 2nd Lt. with the United States Air Force in 1963 receiving his commission through Officer Training School, Lackland Air Force Base in Texas

Major General Killey’s retirement is a culmination of more than 40 years of service to this country,” said Governor Mike Rounds on the announcement.  “His leadership, dedication and commitment to the soldiers and airmen of the South Dakota National Guard are the reason that our National Guard is the most ready organization in the United States.”  

After pilot training at Reese Air Force Base, Texas and Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, Killey served a tour in Southeast Asia from 1967-1968 flying the F-4 with the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing at Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand.  He left active duty in 1969 and joined the South Dakota Air National Guard in 1970.  Killey brought with him his experience of mobilizing for war, which he has used throughout his career to successfully lead, prepare, and ready the South Dakota National Guard for times of war. 

Maj. Gen. Killey held numerous positions in the South Dakota Air Guard to include Commander of the 114th Tactical Fighter Group from 1983 to 1987.  His overwhelming success as commander, exceeding previous accomplishments and goals, led Governor George Mickelson to select him as head of the South Dakota National Guard and Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.  Holding this position, just short of two years, Killey succeeded in taking the Guard and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to greater levels of excellence in all areas.   

Recognizing Killey’s strong leadership abilities, total commitment to the National Guard, and propensity for increased challenge, the Secretary of the Air Force in Washington, D.C. recalled him to active duty as the Director of the Air National Guard from 1988-1994.  Through his vision, foresight, and direction, Killey set the standard for his successors to follow.  

As a result of his outstanding performance as the Director, Killey was once again put to the challenge when the Air Force leadership selected him as the first guard member to serve as Commander, 1st Air Force, the Air Force command responsible for guarding Americas’ skies.  He served in this capacity from 1994-1998 leading and setting the example for thousands of airman to emulate.  

Ready for retirement, Killey found himself facing another challenge.  Governor Janklow asked him, for the second time, to serve as Adjutant General of the South Dakota National Guard and Secretary, Military and Veterans Affairs.  Always the leader, he readily stepped up to the task of being directly responsible and accountable for the overall readiness of the South Dakota National Guard in performing both its state and federal missions.  Killey brought all his past experiences to the table and has made it his number one mission to ensure the members of the South Dakota National Guard are highly trained, fully capable, and prepared to accomplish their assigned mission at a moment’s notice.  In doing so, he has made certain all units participate in tough, realistic training, the leadership is the very best, every soldier and airman attend the appropriate schools, and the South Dakota National Guard has the most modern equipment.  As evidenced these past years, with the fires, floods, tornadoes, and most recently the mobilization of numerous South Dakota Guard units in support of Operation Noble Eagle/Enduring Freedom, his endeavors have paid high dividends making the South Dakota National Guard the best of the best.

Killey has had a distinguished career as is apparent by his numerous awards including the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.  However, his most admirable qualities by far are his great concern for soldiers and family members, his dedication to community, state, and nation, his commitment to excellence, and his ability to recognize and develop this excellence in others.  The soldiers and airman of the South Dakota National Guard have immense admiration and respect for Maj. Gen. Killey not only as a great leader but also as a fellow guard member, veteran, mentor, role model, and friend. He and his lovely wife, Ellen, will be greatly missed.