Turmoil has gripped the leadership ranks of the California National Guard, with the firing of the general who commanded its air branch, the suspension of a second key general, and new limits placed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on the organization’s use of fighter jets for civilian missions.
Newsom’s office and the head of the Guard, Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, refused to provide details on the reasons behind the recent leadership changes other than a statement from the Guard saying that the organization “is committed to facilitating a positive working environment for all of its members, regardless of gender and ethnicity.”
The air branch’s former commander, who was forced out two weeks ago, told the Los Angeles Times he did nothing wrong and said Baldwin had “lost touch with reality.”
The abrupt actions against the two generals mark the second major shake-up in California’s Military Department in as many years. And they were announced on the heels of a Times report that Guard members were concerned that their leaders had readied an F-15C fighter jet last year for a possible mission in which the aircraft would fly low over civilian protesters to frighten and disperse them.