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Guard recogizes Killey for lifelong service

Retired Major General Philip G. Killey received the prestigious Williamson Militia Man Award during the South Dakota National Guard’s “Legislative Dining Out” ceremony Feb.12, in Pierre.

Killey received his commission in 1963 through Officer Training School, Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.  After pilot training at Reese Air Force Base in Texas and Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, Killey served a tour of duty in Southeast Asia from 1967-68.

Killey left active duty in 1969 and joined the South Dakota Air National Guard in 1970.  He held numerous positions in the S.D. Air Nat. Guard to include commander of the 114th Tactical Fighter Group from 1983 to 1987.  His overwhelming success as commander led Governor George Mickelson to select him as Adjutant General for the South Dakota National Guard and head of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

After serving nearly two years as South Dakota’s Adjutant General, Killey was again called to active duty by the Secretary of the Air Force in WashingtonD.C. to serve as the Director of the Air National Guard from 1988 to 1994.

As a result of his outstanding performance as the Director of the Air National Guard, Killey was selected as the first guard member to serve as Commander, 1st Air Force – the Air Force command responsible for guarding America’s skies, where he served until 1998.

In 1998, Governor Janklow asked Killey to again serve as the Adjutant General of the South Dakota National Guard and Secretary of Military and Veterans Affairs, from which he retired after more than 40 years of service in the U.S. military.

The Williamson “Militia Man” Award was established in 1987 by Maj. Gen. Ronald F. Williamson, who was the adjutant general at the time.  The award recognizes an individual who exemplifies the spirit of the citizen-soldier through community leadership, support of the National Guard, and the defense of our country.  The award, presented by Gov. Mike Rounds, Maj. Gen. Michael A. Gorman and Retired Maj. Gen. Ronald F. Williamson, is a U.S. Army Saber and Scabbard.

Past recipients of this award are:  Col. Robert “Doc” Hayes; Maj. Gen. Duane “Duke” Corning; Al Schock; Ep Howe; fomer State Senator Jim Dunn; Ed McBride; Al Cornella; Governor and Congressman William J. Janklow; Sen. Tom Daschle; Chief Warrant Officer (ret) Richard Trankle; Larry Ritz; Maj. Gen. (ret) Harold J. Sykora and Brig. Gen. (ret) Ronald W. Mielke.