Director of Alaska National Guard’s joint staff earns general’s star

Sept. 24, 2016
By Maj. John Callahan

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Blake Gettys, the director of joint staff for the Alaska National Guard, was promoted from colonel to brigadier general during a ceremony at the Arctic Warrior Events Center here Sept. 24.

As director of joint staff, Gettys advises Alaska’s adjutant general and the assistant adjutants general for Army and Air on all issues and policies relating to defense support to civil authorities and security cooperation, while building emergency management capacity through Alaskan community engagements.

“There are some truly gifted and talented people currently serving on the Alaska National Guard joint staff,” Gettys said. “I look forward to working with all of them.”

A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a C-130 pilot, Gettys joined the Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Wing in April 1999. He worked his way up through the ranks, serving as commander of the 176th Operations Support Flight and the 176th Operations Group. In October 2014, he was named wing commander, a position he held until being appointed to his current position in July 2016.

Although a full-time officer for much of his career, Gettys will work a director of joint staff in a “traditional” Guard capacity, working one weekend a month and other days throughout the year as circumstances dictate. As a civilian, he is a 747 pilot for Delta Airlines.

Brig. Gen. Laurie Hummel, Alaska’s adjutant general, said Gettys had earned the star by repeatedly proving his ability to successfully lead complex organizations and initiatives.

“When designing the leadership plan for our joint staff, I knew I needed a director who was doctrinally smart, a good leader and motivator, and who not only would not be scared off by wicked, gnarly problems, but would embrace them,” Hummel said in her remarks at the ceremony. “Blake Gettys’ performance as commander of the 176th Wing earned my trust and confidence in his potential for future service in the general officer ranks.”

A command pilot with more than 5,000 hours in a wide range of aircraft, Gettys is the recipient of numerous awards and decorations, including the Legion of Merit and five awards of the Meritorious Service Medal. He has served on many overseas deployments, including tours in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. He lives in the Anchorage area with his wife, April.