Updated: 08/19/2014 8:25 AM
Created: 08/18/2014 4:45 PM KSTP.com
By: Todd Wilson
The Minnesota National Guard was established 164 years ago, and in that time an African American had never obtained the rank of Brigadier General; that is until Monday.
General David Hamlar Jr. was promoted Monday afternoon at the Minnesota History Center.
At this moment in time, the promotion of David Hamlar from Air Colonel to Brigadier General in the Minnesota Air National Guard is historic, educational and uplifting.
"Getting promoted up to this point, I made sure I made all those marks. I prepared myself, never said 'I should have, could have, would have.' Preparation meets opportunity," now Brigadier General Hamlar Jr. said.
Hamlar says, he joined the Ohio National Guard 28 years ago to pay for his education. While serving he got his doctorate in 1989. He did his residency at Ohio State. He then took a fellowship in facial plastic/reconstructive surgery at the University of Minnesota. His skills as a plastic surgeon have served him well.
"I've deployed as well, and one of the most passionate things that I've done is to take care of our wounded," he said.
Hamlar says, he was raised in the inner city of Columbus, Ohio. It was the time of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement. He is the middle child of two sisters with a mother who adored him. Hamlar feels he's had a blessed life.
"I would say, I'm proud of the fact that I've achieved what I have. But I'm very respectful to the fact that people have died for me to get to where I am today," he said.
Hamlar works at the University of Minnesota Children's Hospital.
He will serve as the Assistant Adjutant General for the Minnesota Air National Guard, overseeing guard units and maintaining two high-quality Air National Guard Wings assigned to the state.