Friday, December 19, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Governor Mary Fallin announced a series of military and veteran-related appointments today, naming a new adjutant general of the Oklahoma National Guard, new nominees to the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA), and changing her cabinet structure. The changes are designed to improve services for the state’s veterans, improve coordination between the ODVA and other state agencies, and broaden the representation of the Oklahoma Veterans Commission which oversees ODVA operations.
Brig. Gen. Robbie L. Asher will be named Oklahoma adjutant general on February 2 and will command the Oklahoma Army and Air National Guard. He succeeds Maj. Gen. Myles Deering, who will become the governor’s secretary of veterans affairs on February 2.
Deering will replace Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon, who the governor has named to a new position of governor’s liaison for veterans affairs. Gen. Aragon will be responsible for developing collaborative efforts for all Oklahoma agencies to better integrate services for Oklahoma’s veterans and their families.
“I appreciate the service of Gen. Deering and his leadership at the Oklahoma National Guard,” said Fallin. “I will continue to rely on his passion for those who have served in the military as secretary of veterans affairs.
“Meanwhile, Gen. Aragon will occupy a new position, helping to integrate services and create better cooperation between the ODVA and other state agencies. No one has worked harder for Oklahoma’s veterans than Rita, and I am excited she will be continuing to serve them in this new role.”
Finally, the governor acted to appoint three new members to the Oklahoma Veterans Commission. Previously, the commission was made up of representatives of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans. Fallin today added representatives of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and the National Guard Association of Oklahoma. She also appointed a fourth veteran who will serve as an at-large member.
“These new appointees will broaden the scope of experiences on the Oklahoma Veterans Commission and ensure the state is providing the best services to Oklahoma’s veterans,” said Fallin. “These are men and women who risked their lives and in many cases sacrificed their health to serve this country. We owe them nothing less than the best.”
More on the Appointees
Brig. Gen. Robbie L. Asherwill be named Oklahoma adjutant general on February 2 and will command the Oklahoma Army and Air National Guard. He has previously served as the primary assistant to the Adjutant General, with overall responsibility and oversight of more than 1,000 Oklahoma Army National Guardsmen.
Gen. Asher also served on active duty in the 101st Airborne Division as an enlisted member for two years followed by five years enlisted service in the Oklahoma Army National Guard.
Upon commissioning, Gen. Asher served in a variety of infantry, anti-armor, and personnel assignments. He commanded the First Battalion 279th Infantry prior to his selection as Deputy Commander, 45th Infantry Brigade. He deployed with his brigade to Afghanistan in 2003.
He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Oklahoma, a master’s of science in natural and applied science from Oklahoma State University and served as a senior service fellow for the United States Army War College at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas.
Maj. Gen. Myles Deeringwill step down from his current post as Oklahoma adjutant general on February 2 and will become Governor Fallin’s secretary of veterans affairs, a cabinet level position.
He began his military career in 1971, and has served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard since 1977 and as Oklahoma’s adjutant general since 2009, appointed by Governor Brad Henry.
During his military career, Gen. Deering has served in a wide variety of areas including in 2008 when he commanded troops for the Multi-National Force in Iraq. Prior to being named adjutant general in 2009, Gen. Deering served as director of manpower and personnel at the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C.
He has received numerous military honors including the Bronze Star Medal, the Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters and Legion of Merit. In 2005, Gen. Deering led 2,500 Oklahoma National Guard troops during Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. For his actions was given the Hero Award from the Oklahoma Red Cross.
Gen. Deering received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Oklahoma and a master’s degree in natural and applied sciences from Oklahoma State University. He is a graduateof the Infantry Officer Basic and Advance Courses, the Ordnance Officer Advance Course, the US Army Command and General Staff Course, and the United States Army War College.
Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon will step down as secretary of veterans affairs on February 2 and become the governor’s liaison for veterans affairs. She previously served as the commander of the Oklahoma Air National Guard and as the Air National Guard assistant to the deputy chief of staff of Staff Manpower and Personnel at the Pentagon, where she was the senior Air National Guard officer responsible for military and civilian personnel management, education, training and resource allocation.
Gen. Aragon was the first woman in the United States to command a state’s Air National Guard.
She received the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
In addition to her military career, Gen. Aragon has served as an elementary school teacher and an elementary school principal. She is the first woman to serve as Oklahoma secretary of military and veterans affairs.
Ivenhoe “Tom” Richey has been appointed to the Oklahoma Veterans Commission as a representative of Paralyzed Veterans of America. He is replacing Richard Putnam, whose term expired. Richey is a founding member of the Paralyzed Veterans of America Chapter 32 and a founding member of Okie Spokesmen Wheelchair Athletic Association.
Larry Van Schuyver has been appointed to the Oklahoma Veterans Commission as a representative of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. He is replacing Tommy Howell. Van Schuyver is the current chairman of the Oklahoma Wounded Warriors Support team.
Everett “Lloyd” Smithson has been appointed to the Oklahoma Veterans Commission as a representative of the National Guard Association of Oklahoma. He is replacing the late Darrell McGee. Smithson served in the Oklahoma Air National Guard for 36 years before retiring. Smithson currently works as a survivor outreach services coordinator at the Survivor Outreach Services Program in Oklahoma City.
John Carter has been appointed to the Oklahoma Veterans Commission as an at-large member replacing Wesley Benge, whose term expired. He currently serves as the chairman of the Veterans Corner Public Relations Building Committee. Carter previously served 20 years as a carrier pilot in the United States Navy.