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Veteran to Head NJANG
Story and photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, 177FW/PA
Brig. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth, The Adjutant General of New Jersey, appointed General Chojnacki to command the more than 2,400 members of the New Jersey Air National Guard.
Brig. Gen. Chojnacki, a decorated Vietnam Veteran, served as a special operations pilot. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force after graduating from Officer Training School, Lackland Air Force Base (AFB), Texas, in 1968. In 1971, General Chojnacki attended helicopter transition training at Sheppard AFB, Texas and was assigned to the 20th Special Operations Squadron, Cam Rahn Bay, Republic of Vietnam, as an UH-1N pilot. During his combat tour, he flew 120 missions over Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. In 1977, he accepted a commission with the New Jersey Air National Guard as the executive support officer for the 177th Fighter Interceptor Group. In August, 2002, he was appointed the vice commander of the New Jersey Air National Guard and subsequently promoted to brigadier general. General Chojnacki is rated as a pilot with more than 2,000 hours. His major awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross with One Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with One Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, Vietnam Service Medal with One Bronze Star Device, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Device.
In his remarks, Brig. Gen. Chojnacki spoke about the new roles facing the New Jersey Air National Guard.
We have seen the Air National Guard move from its cold war posture... into being an integral and utilized part of our nations military capability in day-to-day operations, in our war against terror and in the protection of the homeland. It is the hard work, the dedication, and the patriotism of each individual Guardsman that has made our past so successful - and our future so bright.
As Commander, New Jersey Air National Guard, General Chojnacki will be promoted to the rank of Major General pending federal recognition.