Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen today announced the appointment of Maj. Gen. Russell C. Davis, acting chief, National Guard Bureau to the position of chief, National Guard Bureau with promotion to the grade of lieutenant general. He succeeds Lt. Gen. Edward Baca who retired July 31.
In ceremonies held today in the Pentagon, Davis was sworn in by Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera and had his new rank pinned on by the Honorable F. Whitten Peters, acting secretary of the Air Force. Davis received Senate confirmation on July 30.
The National Guard Bureau is a joint bureau of the Departments of the Army and Air Force headquartered at the Pentagon. As chief, Davis will be responsible for leading a force of 469,782 Army and Air National Guardsmen. He will serve as the principal staff advisor to the secretary of the Army and secretary of the Air Force on all National Guard matters.
Davis, who has earned a law degree, has been vice chief of the Bureau since December 1995. He is the first African-American appointed as chief, National Guard Bureau and was the first African-American to achieve the rank of general in the Air National Guard in 1982. He is only the third Air Guard general officer in history to be appointed to the position of chief.
Davis is a career aviator with more than 5,000 hours in nine different fighter, bomber, and cargo aircraft. He served seven years in the active Air Force, and more than 14 years in the Iowa Air National Guard.
Davis was born in Tuskegee, Ala., in 1938.