State Adjutant General Robert Lee retires

General Robert Lee
General Robert Lee
General Craig R. McKinley
General Craig R. McKinley

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the new Abercrombie administration prepares to take over, many of Gov. Lingle's appointees will be let go.

One of those is State Adjutant General Robert Lee, who's been at the center of Hawaii's military community for the last seven years.

And as he prepares to venture in a new direction, he reflects back on the challenging times.

When disaster strikes, Maj. Gen. Robert Lee usually is the reassuring face on TV.

But he wasn't so sure when Gov. Lingle asked him to become the state's Adjutant General.

"I asked her surely you're not serious," Lee said.

She was, and since his appointment in 2003, the McKinely and UH grad has managed the state's military resources and headed up civil defense during tough times.

"How the men and women of our army and air national guard would be called upon not only locally like disasters like Ka Loko and the Kiholo Bay earthquake but since 2003 mobilized to Afghanistan and Iraq in support of operations there," Lee said.

Those events tested the state's response and Gen. Lee is quick to credit those who serve and protect our country.

"In spite of the call up for the wars, the Army is over 100 percent strength, the Hawaii Army National Guard, and the Air National Guard is nearly at 100 percent so hats off to our young citizens in our state for answering the call to serve their community and their country," Lee said.

In his distinguished military career, Lee earned the respect of the country's top decision-makers in the military.

"I consider the Adjutant General, the Board of Directors for me. And I consider his advice and his counsel to be very important as I try and make the decisions in Washington, D.C. that will affect all of our national guard men and women," National Guard Bureau Chief Craig McKinley said.

"Overall, I'd say it's been a very enjoyable ride and I would certainly miss the students and airmen that I have served with, they are just fantastic in fact they're the ones that keep me going," McKinley said.

As for his future plans, Lee responds candidly, "Anyone that wants to know about my future, talk to my wife, haha."

Lee says for now, he plans to take it easy and enjoy some time off with his family.

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