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Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Brig. Gen. Barry Keeling, a career military aviator who played an instrumental role in the massive helicopter rescue response to Hurricane Katrina, has become the Louisiana National Guard’s newest general officer. Keeling, who lives in New Orleans, was promoted to one-star general Thursday, during a ceremony at Camp Beauregard in Pineville.
A former Marine who entered the Louisiana Army National Guard in 1990, Keeling currently is director of joint staff, a job in which he is principal advisor to the state’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Glenn Curtis.
He was promoted on a day when more than 4,000 National Guardsmen were mobilized for the response to Hurricane Isaac, including Army Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters that were used to drop large sandbags to fill cuts in the back levee of eastern Plaquemines Parish.
“I cannot think of a better time and place to have this ceremony,” Keeling was quoted as saying in a National Guard article. “We set the example for all the other state agencies, with the soldiers and airmen of the Louisiana National Guard.”
Curtis described Keeling as “loyal” and “relentless in getting the job done.”
Keeling has amassed 6,000 accident-free military flight hours, according to the National Guard. He has commanded the 204th Theater Airfield Operations Group during wartime. In his current post, he also is responsible for commanding the state’s 11,000 soldiers and airmen in state emergency operations.
In addition to deploying overseas numerous times, including for the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism, Keeling was the Louisiana National Guard’s state aviation officer when Katrina struck in 2005.
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