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Gov. Kim Reynolds names new adjutant general of Iowa National Guard
Brig. Gen. Stephen Osborn succeeds Maj. Gen. Benjamin Correll
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Friday named a new top general to lead the Iowa National Guard roughly two weeks after its current leader announced his retirement.
Reynolds announced Brig. Gen. Stephen E. Osborn will succeed Maj. Gen. Benjamin Corell as the adjutant general of the state’s military reserve force, managing more than 2,000 full-time federal and state employees and commanding nearly 9,000 part-time soldiers and airmen.
Reynolds announced to a crowd of veterans at the state Capitol earlier this month that Corell will step down March 1. Corell told the Des Moines Register he wants to retire so he can spend more time with his wife and seven grandchildren.
Corell has served as adjutant general since August 2019. He’s a 37-year member of the Iowa National Guard. He enlisted in 1986 and was commissioned as an officer in 1989. He has served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Romania and Kuwait.
Osborn has served as the National Guard's deputy adjutant general since August 2018 and previously served as the deputy commanding general of the Army National Guard's Maneuver Center of Excellence in Fort Benning, Ga.
Reynolds, in a statement announcing his appointment, praised Osborn's leadership skills and experience "both home and abroad.”
“Gen. Osborn has been an invaluable member of the Iowa National Guard as our state has faced natural disasters, a pandemic, and civil unrest,” Reynolds said. “Iowans can trust that the Iowa National Guard stands ready and prepared under Gen. Osborn’s proven leadership capabilities.”
Osborn brings nearly 40 years of military experience to the role, including deployments to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War in 1991, Kosovo in 2004 and Iraq in 2009, according to the governor’s office.
A Davenport native, Osborn enlisted in 1984 and was commissioned as an officer in 1990. He transferred to the Iowa Army National Guard in 1992 and has served in a variety of command and staff positions.
A graduate of the University of Alabama, he also holds a master of public administration degree from Drake University and a master of strategic studies degree from the U.S. Army War College. He’s been awarded the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Expert Infantryman’s Badge and Pathfinder Badge.
Corell, in his annual Condition of the Guard address to lawmakers last month, warned that the organization faces recruiting challenges. Fewer Iowans are interested in joining the Iowa National Guard than in past years, creating concerns over readiness and strength.
Corell asked legislators to continue supporting the Guard’s service scholarship program, which provides annual scholarships to members to attend college.
In the last year, demand for the scholarships increased and outpaced the money appropriated for the program, which is administered through Iowa College Student Aid Commission. Corell told reporters the commission would request an additional $1.5 million for the scholarships.
He also said the Guard is looking to reorganize its facilities to provide drilling locations closer to home for soldiers and airmen. Most members travel more than an hour to get to their duty location.
“As we move forward, we must carefully balance the need to station and build in growing communities with the need to maintain and invest in our rural communities where we have historically established our Iowa National Guard facilities,” Corell said.
Caleb McCullough of the Gazette-Lee Des Moines Bureau contribute to this report.
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