Meet Minnesota’s first Black National Guard brigadier general

Brigadier General David Hamlar Jr.
Brigadier General David Hamlar Jr.

Col. David Hamlar Jr. was promoted to brigadier general on August 18 at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. Hamlar is the first African American to achieve the rank of brigadier general in the Minnesota National Guard.

“Col. 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,” said Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Richard C. Nash. “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.”

After six years in the Ohio National Guard, Hamlar joined the Minnesota Air National Guard’s 133rd Airlift Wing as a traditional guardsman and general practice physician in 1995. Hamlar has served in support of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm and was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and numerous military humanitarian efforts around the world.

Hamlar received his doctorate in 1989, and after a residency in otolaryngology at Ohio State University in 1994 and a fellowship in facial plastic/reconstructive surgery at the University of Minnesota in 1995, Hamlar joined the faculty, was appointed assistant professor, and helped direct the Craniofacial Skull Base Center in the Department of Otolaryngology.

He specializes in and provides care for patients with cleft lip and palate, craniofacial deformities, and children born with misshapen skulls. His expertise extends to traumatic injuries as well, which has been crucial in the care of our troops both home and abroad.

An avid sports enthusiast, he is a consultant for Minnesota Gopher sports teams, the Minnesota Vikings and Timberwolves, and has been a team physician with the Minnesota Wild since 2003.

Brig. Gen. Hamlar will serve as the Assistant Adjutant General – Air, Minnesota National Guard, overseeing Minnesota National Guard units and maintaining two high-quality Air National Guard Wings assigned to the state of Minnesota.

—Information provided by Minnesota National Guard