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New adjutant general


Gov. Dirk Kempthorne introduces Brigadier General Lawrence Frank Lafrenz, right. Adjutant General Jack Kane is at left.

In the midst of the largest deployment of the Idaho National Guard in the state’s history, Idaho’s Guard is getting a new leader.

Adjutant General Jack Kane will retire on Jan. 15, Gov. Dirk Kempthorne announced this morning, and be replaced by Brigadier General Lawrence Frank Lafrenz. Lafrenz is now Kane’s second-in-command.

“General Lafrenz has played a key role in the development and training of the Idaho Army National Guard,” Kempthorne said. “He’s the right person to lead our citizen-soldiers into the future as they confront the uncertain realities of today’s world and their duties here in Idaho.”

Kane, 60, has been in the Guard for 44 years. He joined up in 1962 “for the sole purpose of learning how to fly a helicopter,” he said. “I appreciate all the support that I’ve had over the years. It’s been an honor to work for Idaho, the greatest state in the union. It’s been an honor to lead the soldiers of Idaho, and sometimes have the soldiers lead me.”

Lafrenz, 59, joined the Guard in Lewiston in 1966 with hopes of becoming an officer. “I’m humbled by this opportunity,” he said. “Governor, thank you so much for allowing me to continue my service.”

Under National Guard retirement rules, Kane could have continued for four more years to the mandatory retirement age for adjutant generals of 64. But if he hadn’t retired, Lafrenz would have hit the mandatory retirement age for his rank in a month. Kane said there’s a whole string of top-notch people who will get to move up in rank during the next four years because he’s decided to retire to his ranch in Garden Valley. “These other people deserve to have opportunity,” he said.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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