Brigadier General Ernest G. Talbert

A product of the Delaware public school system, Ernest G. Talbert attended New York University and became a pilot his junior year, graduating from the ROTC program as a distinguished graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in economics in 1972. He entered undergraduate pilot training, earned his pilot wings in 1973, and was assigned to Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina where he flew the C-141 jet transport aircraft.

In 1979, he joined the Delaware Air National Guard as a part-time, "traditional" guardsman, and worked on obtaining a Master of Business Administration from the University of Delaware, graduating in 1983.

In 2002 General Talbert became the 166th Airlift Wing commander, overseeing the largest mobilization effort in the wing's history for Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

General Talbert is the first African-American colonel, and first and only African-American general, in the more than 350-year history of the Delaware National Guard.

His military career has spanned 36 years, with 30 years of service in the Delaware ANG.  As Vice Commander, Delaware Air National Guard, he served as the principle advisor to the Commander of the Delaware Air National Guard for all Air National Guard issues. He was responsible for assisting the planning, directing and administering programs for approximately 1,100 Air National Guard personnel within the state. He was further responsible for providing trained, equipped and mission ready forces in support of federal mobilization requirements and state emergency operations. He developed plans, programs and policies in support of the Delaware   C-130 Wing and maintained liaison with major commands and the National Guard Bureau.

Brigadier General Ernest G. Talbert, a lifelong Delawarean, retired from the Delaware Air National Guard after a career that took him to Southwest Asia as a C-130 aircraft pilot in 1991 to the launch of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001 and as the wing commander of a unit during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2002.

At his military retirement on Jan. 11, 2009 General Talbert was presented the Legion of Merit and the Delaware Conspicuous Service Cross, each a second award.

"General Talbert has had a career of firsts," said Major General Frank Vavala, Adjutant General of the Delaware National Guard. "He is a pace-setter, a role model and a champion of change.”

Brigadier General Hugh Broomall, Deputy Adjutant General for Air, Delaware National Guard, said, “Delaware and the nation should be proud of General Talbert's career contributions, including his mentoring of dozens of airmen, his wartime combat service and leadership and his steadfast devotion to those who serve in the Delaware National Guard and wear the uniform of the United States military.”

In a message to fellow Airmen, General Talbert said his life lessons and philosophy are Believe in God; do unto others what you would have done unto you; do the right thing; value friendships; and look to the poems “If” by Rudyard Kipling and “Invictus’ by William Ernest Henley for inspiration.

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