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Alabama National Guard leader Maj. Gen. Sheryl Gordon retiring, Brig. Gen. David Pritchett named as replacement

The first woman to lead the Alabama National Guard is retiring and is being replaced by a decorated artillery officer, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced today.

Maj. Gen. Sheryl Gordon will retire at the end of this year as the adjutant general of the Alabama National Guard after six years in the position. Ivey has selected Alabama native Brig. Gen. David Pritchett to serve as the next leader of the Alabama National Guard.

Gordon has led the Alabama National Guard since Ivey appointed her in 2017. She brought strong leadership among the soldiers and airmen, which allowed Alabama to further itself as the strongest community for the military. From helping land the F-35 fighter jets to providing security at the southern border to responding in times of crisis, Gordon ensured the Alabama National Guard always stood ready.

“In 2017, when I tapped General Gordon to serve as adjutant general of the Alabama National Guard, I noted she was a trailblazer and visionary leader. Her record throughout her tenure has proven that to be true, and I commend her for her service,” Ivey said. “While it is important to applaud her for being Alabama’s first female adjutant general, I am proudest of her decades of military service and steadfast leadership. I know General Gordon will continue contributing to this state we call home and our nation.”

RELATED: Q&A: Meet the first woman to lead the Alabama National Guard

In 2022, Ivey requested, through the National Guard Bureau, an extension for Gordon’s service through the end of 2023 so that she could see through certain leadership and project priorities. Together over the last year-plus, the governor and Gordon have made preparations for the change of command at the Alabama National Guard to occur in January.

Maj. Gen. Sheryl Gordon. (contributed)

“I’ve been blessed with a long career, and I am certainly proud of one constant effort, and that has been supporting and equipping the outstanding soldiers and airmen of Alabama. My greatest accomplishments have everything to do with the Guardsmen – the Guardsmen being promoted, awarded and achieving their dreams, goals and potential,” said Maj. Gen. Gordon. “I thank Governor Ivey for entrusting me with this duty. It has truly been the highest honor and pleasure to serve the nation’s finest men and women, and I wish General Pritchett even greater success in doing the same. ‘It Shall Be Done!’”

Ivey expressed excitement that Pritchett, a Jefferson County native and Auburn alum, will be returning to Alabama to serve as the adjutant general of the National Guard. He currently serves as director of the joint staff for the Wyoming National Guard.

“We are fortunate to have General Pritchett return to Alabama to serve at the helm of the National Guard. His exceptional military experience and diverse leadership background will help us forge on with existing projects and missions, and will help foster even more growth at the Alabama National Guard,” Ivey said. “There is no better person to fill the shoes left by General Gordon, and I am proud General Pritchett will be joining us in the Ivey administration. I look forward to working with him in the years to come to ensure Alabama always stands ready and is always there to protect and serve.”

Pritchett, who has several awards and decorations, has wide-ranging military service, including many stints in Alabama. He received his military start in 1988 in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in Bessemer but has spent most of his years serving in the Alabama National Guard.

Brig. Gen. David Pritchett. (contributed)

“I am grateful to Governor Ivey on my upcoming appointment to be the next adjutant general of the Alabama National Guard. This organization has a storied past of service to our great state and country,” he said. “Our soldiers, airmen and civilians are prepared to face any challenge to ensure the safety of our citizens, protect critical infrastructure, and if necessary, to deploy overseas to fight and win our nation’s wars. I am both honored and humbled to be the next leader of the Alabama National Guard.”

Pritchett attended Auburn University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in public administration. He also earned his Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. His training is extensive and includes Field Artillery Officer Basic Course, Field Artillery Captains’ Career Course, Combined Arms and Services Staff School, Fire Support Coordinators Course, Field Artillery Pre-Command Course, Air Defense Artillery Reclassification Course and Dual Status Commander’s Course.

The governor’s appointment of Gen. Pritchett is effective Jan. 1, 2024. The official change of command ceremony will be Friday, Jan. 5, 2024. Pritchett’s wife, Julie, is a native of Fort Payne, and they have three adult children: Katelyn, Clay and Anna Chris.

Courtesy of Alabama News Center.

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