Maj. Gen. Wright Appointed to Pentagon Leadership Position; Governor Names Maj. Gen. Sischo Acting Adjutant General
HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell announced today that Major General Jessica L. Wright will step down as commander of the Pennsylvania National Guard and as head of the state's Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Oct. 29 to become deputy assistant secretary of defense for manpower and personnel in the U.S. Department of Defense.
The Governor also announced that he will appoint Major General Stephen M. Sischo, a 26-year veteran of the Air Force and the Air National Guard, as the commonwealth's acting adjutant general. Gen. Sischo currently serves as the state's deputy adjutant general for air operations.
"Gen. Wright's performance as the state's top National Guard commander and service to the commonwealth has been nothing short of exceptional," said Governor Rendell. "She led our National Guard troops through a challenging time as our nation wages two military campaigns abroad as part of the Global War on Terror. Pennsylvania's National Guard soldiers have been relied upon heavily in support of these conflicts and, despite those demands on our soldiers and airmen, the Guard has consistently stood at the ready and answered every call for support whether overseas or here at home during an emergency.
"Aside from her leadership on military operations, she has also been a tireless advocate for our soldiers, their families and our veterans. For those soldiers who are deployed, Gen. Wright has made certain their families have access to the help they need to continue their lives until their loved ones return. For our approximately 1.1 million veterans, she's expanded access to benefits and improved the care residents receive at our six state veterans homes. Her contributions to this state have been invaluable and I'm thrilled that she will have the opportunity to continue serving this nation and its National Guard members in her new role at the Pentagon."
In her new position, Wright will serve as the principal staff advisor to the assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs on all matters pertaining to manpower, personnel, compensation and medical coverage. She is expected to begin her new role Nov. 8.
Under Wright's leadership since 2004, Pennsylvania has deployed more than 19,000 Army and Air National Guardsmen -- some of them more than two or three times -- to various conflicts and peacekeeping operations around the world, including: Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, relief efforts in response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and Operation Unified Response following the Haitian earthquake in 2010.
In Pennsylvania, Wright led the National Guard's response to natural disasters and emergencies such as severe winter storms in 2010 and 2007, and flooding along the Delaware River from heavy rain in 2007 and from three hurricanes -- Charlie, Frances and Ivan -- that impacted the state in 2004.
She was integral in enacting significant legislation that expanded benefits for members of the armed forces, their families, as well as veterans. Some notable examples include the Persian Gulf Conflict Veterans' Benefit Program, the Disabled Veterans' Real Estate Tax Exemption Program and the Military Family Relief Assistance Program.
"I'm pleased that Gen. Sischo has agreed to accept the acting adjutant general role," said Governor Rendell. "For the past 13 years, he has been a critical component of our Air National Guard leadership team. He commanded two strategically important units at Willow Grove and Harrisburg International Airport before assuming his current role. His service record as a member of the Air Force and Air National Guard has been exemplary and he has been -- and will continue to be -- a tremendous asset to Pennsylvania's Guard operations.
As commander of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, Sischo is responsible for overall operational readiness, ensuring that the state's more than 4,000 assigned members are trained and equipped to accomplish their federal and state missions successfully.
He is a 1977 graduate of Arizona State University. He earned his commission from the U.S. Air Force Officer Training School in 1980.
His active duty military career included assignments as an A-10 jet aircraft pilot and instructor at Nellis Air Force Base, as the Air-to-Ground Weapons System program manager at Eglin Air Force Base, and as a staff officer at the Pentagon.
During his service with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, Sischo has commanded the 111th Fighter Wing, Joint Reserve Base, Willow Grove, and the 193rd Special Operations Wing at Harrisburg International Airport.
For more information on the Pennsylvania National Guard and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, visit www.dmva.state.pa.us.
Media Contact: Gary Tuma; 717-783-1116
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor