Lawmakers react to death of WV Air National Guard founder

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CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — West Virginia lawmakers are reacting to the death of Brig. Gen. J. Kemp McLaughlin. He was a Braxton County native and the founder of the West Virginia Air National Guard. He also served in World War II and was later elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates.

Governor Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice expressed their condolences.

“General McLaughlin was among the greatest of the great West Virginians who ever lived. His service saved countless lives around the world and his leadership here at home paved the way for thousands upon thousands of men and women to further serve and protect our great state and its people,”

Governor Jim Justice (R) – West Virginia

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin also released a statement Monday.

“Gayle and I were saddened to hear of the passing of our dear friend, Brig. Gen. Kemp McLaughlin. General McLaughlin truly embodied ‘The Greatest Generation.’ While serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps he completed 39 combat missions during World War II, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with three clusters, the US Army Air Corps Air medal with eight cluster, the French Croix de Guerre, a Presidential unit citation. Upon returning home, he helped establish the West Virginia Air National Guard as its first commander and led the unit when it was deployed during the Korean War. General McLaughlin led lifetime of selfless service in the military and here at home. Beyond his military service, he served our state as a Kanawha County Commissioner and in the House of Delegates. I am proud to have known him and I am honored to have called him a dear friend. Kemp was a true family man and a great West Virginian. Gayle and I know that many hearts are hurting with his passing, and we send our deepest condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D) – West Virginia

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