Wisconsin governors remember Oregon veteran

OREGON, Wis. — Past Wisconsin governors are remembering the state’s former adjutant general for his leadership, service and excellence after a funeral was held over the weekend.

According to a state Department of Military Affairs news release, family and friends gathered to celebrate the memory of Maj. Gen. Al Wilkening on Aug. 7 after he died in April 2020 following a battle with cancer.

Wilkening served as Wisconsin’s adjutant general from 2002-07.

Jim Doyle, who was governor of Wisconsin for most of Wilkening’s tenure, said at the ceremony: “Maj. Gen. Wilkening and I served together as the commander-in-chief and the adjutant general of Wisconsin’s National Guard through its most challenging years since World War II. He led the Guard through the biggest deployment of Soldiers and Airmen since World War II.”

Former governor Tommy Thompson was also at the ceremony. He said he called Wilkening for advice on Sept. 11, 2001.

“He helped me get a medical plane in the air on that fateful day — I’ll never forget it,” Thompson said. “Thanks to his help, I believe we were the only ones to get a plane in the air that day, outside of the Air Force, to deliver medical supplies to New York.”

Gov. Evers ordered flags to half staff last Saturday to honor Wilkening.