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LSU Alumnus Protects Louisiana as Commander of the Louisiana National Guard

As the nation celebrates its independence this Fourth of July, LSU pays tribute to its proud military tradition and one of its own – Louisiana National Guard Brig. Gen. Glenn Curtis, the adjutant general for the state of Louisiana.

LSU's military history began more than 150 years ago with the opening of the university under Superintendent and Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman. Then called the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy, the university was nicknamed the "Ole War Skule." Through relocation and name changes, LSU continued to build on its military tradition while still retaining the "Ole War Skule" nickname. The university's military tradition was never more evident than during World War II when LSU boasted more officers on active duty than any other institution in the nation other than the military academies. For information about membership in the Cadets of the Ole War Skule, visit olewarskule.lsu.edu, email cadets@lsu.edu, or call 225-578-0420 or 1-866-SALUTES.

As the adjutant general, Curtis is the commander of the Louisiana National Guard. In that role, the LSU alumnus is responsible for the deployment and coordination of programs, policies and plans affecting the more than 11,500 members of the Louisiana Army and Air National Guard.

“We have two primary missions – one is to deploy overseas and fight, and the other is to deploy in the state and take care of our citizens in an emergency,” Curtis said. “My main responsibility is to keep the organization as strong as it is, to take care of the families that are in the Louisiana National Guard and keep us ready.”

Appointed by Gov. Bobby Jindal, Curtis assumed command in a ceremony on Dec. 10, 2011, at Camp Beauregard in Pineville, replacing retiring Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau. Curtis is a native of nearby Buckeye, so having the largest formal ceremony at Camp Beauregard in 14 years, and only 15 miles from his hometown, took on a new meaning.

“Certainly being named adjutant general was the highlight of my military career,” said Curtis. “The word that comes into my mind is humbling, and I was very honored. Also, my whole family was able to make it, so it was very special.”

Even before attending LSU, Curtis had enlisted in the Louisiana National Guard, joining the service in March 1982 and being commissioned through the Louisiana National Guard Officer Candidate School as a second lieutenant in August 1984. Although he had a family history of service – his father is retired Army – Curtis joined the Louisiana National Guard as a way to get through college.

Stuart Bell
LSU alumnus Brig. Gen. Glenn Curtis was recently appointed the adjutant general for the state of Louisiana. He assumed command of the Louisiana National Guard on Dec. 10, 2011.

“My dad retired from the Army so I grew up in it,” said Curtis. “But the bottom line was I needed something to help me pay for college, so it really afforded me that opportunity.”

In May 1986, Curtis earned his Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural business from LSU. The university still holds a special place in Curtis’s heart, as it is where he met his wife, the former Jill Juneau. A member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, a social-professional fraternity affiliated with agriculture, Curtis also fondly remembers his fraternity brothers and his time in the fraternity house.

“I was actually in a fraternity, so I have great memories of the guys who were my fraternity brothers. My favorite place on campus was the fraternity house,” said Curtis. “That’s also where I met my wife, so those are the best memories for me. That, and graduating.”

Having grown up as a big LSU football fan, attending LSU was always where Curtis had hoped to attend college. After stops at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, then Northeast Louisiana University, and LSU at Alexandria, Curtis’s dreams were fulfilled when he transferred to LSU and was able to watch his Tigers every Saturday night in Death Valley.

 “I loved all of the LSU football games,” said Curtis. “I was always an LSU football fan and had always dreamed of going to LSU, so I ended up at the right place.”

More recently, Curtis has kept his connection to LSU through the Cadets of the Ole War Skule, where he serves on the organization’s board of directors. The Cadets of the Ole War Skule are LSU students and alumni who are honorably serving, or have served, the United States in any one of the nation’s armed forces, the National Guard or military reserves. They ensure that future generations of LSU cadets and alumni will never forget the university’s rich military heritage and traditions. The Cadets of the Ole War Skule and the university annually co-host events as a visible remembrance of the soldiers who have proudly served in America’s armed forces and given their lives to preserve our freedom.

Stuart Bell
As the adjutant general, Brig. Gen. Glenn Curtis (left) is responsible for the deployment and coordination of programs, policies and plans affecting the more than 11,500 members of the Louisiana Army and Air National Guard.

On Nov. 14, 2009, Curtis was one of 11 LSU alumni inducted into the LSU military Hall of Honor during the annual LSU Salutes ceremony. The inductees, all of whom must have attended LSU and served in the military, are selected based on their involvement with the university, as well as with the military and community. When the LSU Military Museum in the Memorial Tower is completed, Curtis’ name and the names of all those inducted into the Hall of Honor will be displayed as part of the permanent exhibition.

It was an honor,” Curtis said of his induction into the LSU military Hall of Honor. “If you look at some of the people who have been inducted in the Hall of Honor, to just be among them is such an honor.”

Throughout his nearly 30-year military career, Curtis has steadily moved up the ranks and was most recently promoted to brigadier general in November 2007. He has also held various positions of increasing responsibility from platoon leader to construction officer to commander to executive officer. In December 2004, he was mobilized in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and served as the chief of staff for the purchasing and contracting officer in Baghdad, Iraq. Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, he was assigned as the chief of the joint staff for the Joint Force Headquarters – Louisiana, where he served until being appointed the adjutant general.

Stuart Bell
On Wednesday, May 30, Brig. Gen. Glenn Curtis, adjutant general of the Louisiana National Guard, was the keynote speaker at LSU's Memorial Day ceremony at the LSU War Memorial on the Parade Ground.

“My entire career I have enjoyed being in the military,” said Curtis. “Mostly it comes down the people – the great soldiers and great families. Their dedication to their duty and to this country has really been my driving force throughout my career while trying to do the right thing for them.”

Among Curtis’s many awards and decorations are a the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with two bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Combat Action Badge, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal with one silver and two bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal with one bronze Service Star, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal with one bronze Service Star, Louisiana Legion of Merit and Louisiana Commendation Medal.

Despite his many individual honors, Curtis still sees himself as just another member of the much larger United States military and cherishes his career path.

“The military is really just one big team, so being a member of that team has just been very special,” said Curtis. “I owe the Army a lot more than I can pay them back.”

Curtis now resides in Alexandria with his wife and their three children – Meagan, Nicholas and Jacob.