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Minnesota National Guard
Civilian dentist and doctor, National Guard general named Black Engineer of the Year

Hamlar WASHINGTON - Dentist Doctor Airman National Guard general officer And, now, one of the nation's Black Engineers of the Year

Dr David Hamlar - Minnesota National Guard Air Force Brig Gen David Hamlar - on Friday was recognized here for a trailblazing life of extraordinary accomplishment

"He is a Citizen-Airman of many talents, many achievements - an absolute role model for all of us," said Air Force Lt Gen Joseph Lengyel, vice chief of the National Guard Bureau, presenting the award

"This doctor has faithfully supported us in Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and numerous military and humanitarian efforts around the world," Lengyel said

"He has deployed all over the world on numerous occasions, selflessly serving the nation," Air Force Col Jim Johnson, 133rd Airlift Wing Commander, said after Hamlar became the Minnesota National Guard's first African American general officer last August "When he is not saving lives, he is searching for other opportunities to improve somebody's health [He] is an extremely talented and well-respected surgeon in both the military and civilian communities"

Hamlar has commanded a squadron and a group and served as chief flight surgeon and Minnesota's state air surgeon

"One thing that is unique in the Reserves and National Guard is we have two lives, we have two careers," Lengyel said Civilian Dr Hamlar is co-director of the University of Minnesota's Craniofacial Skull Base Center, while Brig Gen Hamlar simultaneously serves as the assistant adjutant general of the state's Air National Guard

"He has responsibility not just for doctor duties, but responsibility to oversee an airlift wing and a fighter wing, more than 2,000 Airmen," Lengyel said "I don't know how he does it"

Hamlar "is not only an extraordinary leader in the Minnesota National Guard, he is an accomplished surgeon specializing in the reconstruction of skull deformities and brain tumors," Army Maj. Gen. Richard Nash Minnesota's adjutant general, said at Hamlar's August promotion "Hamlar's talent and both military and civilian skills makes him an incredible asset to not only our organization, but to the community as a whole"

Hamlar also serves as a consultant for Minnesota Gopher Sports teams, the Minnesota Vikings and Timberwolves, and has been a team physician with the Minnesota Wild NHL ice hockey team since 2003

The 29th annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards were presented at the 10th Annual Stars & Stripes Dinner here, attended by about 1,200, one of the nation's largest events honoring African American admirals, generals and senior executive service members Attendees included 80 African American students who had the opportunity to learn about the contributions of previous generations Hamlar accepted his award accompanied by his wife, June He was the National Guard awardee in a ceremony that recognized members of each of the military components and the Defense Department's senior executive service

Documented original Tuskegee Airmen Dr Ivan Ware, Major Anderson and William Fauntroy were among those attending the event, which was held during National African American History Month The Tuskegee Airmen were the nation's first African American fighter and bomber pilots, during World War II, when the military and much of the nation remained racially segregated

Friday evening's award ceremony was preceded by an afternoon of mentoring for more than 400 African American science, technology, engineering and mathematics high school and college students by senior leaders, including National Guard general officers STEM expertise is a continuing critical national security need, defense leaders say

"If the reality of all of this is that if I am a first, then there should be a second and a third," Hamlar said after his August promotion "Just keep the ball rolling, just don't stop at one"

The awards dinner is traditionally hosted by different components of the Armed Forces each year This year, the Air Force hosted The National Guard will host for the first time in 2017, Army Gen Frank Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau, announced Friday

General Hamlar graduated from Tufts University with a bachelor of science in Biology He then attended Howard University College of Dentistry as a National Health Service Corps scholarship recipient, gaining a commission at the equivalent Navy rank of lieutenant While practicing dentistry in Columbus, he entered medical school at the Ohio State University in 1985 After completing his studies in three years, he spent his fourth year as a basic research scientist This led to one year of post graduate training in general surgery and four years in otolaryngology

Finally, a fellowship in Facial Plastics and Reconstructive Surgery led him to Minnesota in 1994, where he attended the University of Minnesota After six years at the Ohio National Guard, he joined the Minnesota National Guard in 1995

- The Department of Defense and the 133rd Airlift Wing contributed to this report

February 8, 2015
by Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill
National Guard Bureau Public Affairs

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