Retired Maj. Gen. James Blaney, who served as Wisconsin’s adjutant general when the Global War on Terror began, passed away Sunday, October 18. He was 82 years old.
Blaney, a resident of Lake Delton, Wisconsin, joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard as an enlisted Soldier in 1960 and served nearly 42 years when he retired in 2002. He was a Spc. 4 with Headquarters Troop, 2nd Recon Squadron, 105th Cavalry during the Berlin Crisis, serving on active duty at Fort Lewis, Washington. He commissioned as an armor officer in 1963 after completing officer candidate school at the Wisconsin Military Academy, and changed branches to infantry in 1971.
Blaney earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education at La Crosse State University (now the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse) in 1964 and a master’s degree in education in 1969. From 1968 to 1970 he served as a military leadership instructor in Madison, Wisconsin. He would later serve as commandant of the Wisconsin Military Academy at Camp Williams from 1984-87, overseeing officer candidate and noncommissioned officer training.
He commanded the 2nd Battalion, 128th Infantry from 1980-83, the 64th Troop Command from 1987-90, and the 32nd Separate Infantry Brigade from 1991-95. He was named assistant adjutant general for special operations in 1995, and the following year he became the deputy adjutant general for Army. He was appointed to be Wisconsin’s adjutant general in August 1997, a position he held for five years.