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State adjutant general says he was relieved of his duties by Gov. Stitt
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State adjutant general says he was relieved of his duties by Gov. Stitt

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OKLAHOMA CITY — Maj. Gen. Michael Thompson said Thursday that he was relieved of his duties as state adjutant general by Gov. Kevin Stitt.

Stitt announced Wednesday that he had appointed Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino, assistant adjutant general, to replace Thompson as adjutant general and commander of the Oklahoma Army and Air National Guard.

Thompson said Stitt called him Wednesday to tell him he was relieved of his duties effective immediately. He learned from social media that his friend Mancino had been tapped as his replacement.

The outgoing adjutant general said Stitt had previously asked him to resign. Thompson said he asked Stitt if he could stay until Jan. 15 and that the governor agreed and that he had submitted a resignation letter.

“Everything changed after that,” Thompson said.

Stitt’s office was asked Wednesday for a copy of Thompson’s resignation letter but has not provided it.

Thompson said he is not yet ready to discuss why Stitt wanted him to resign.

Asked to describe his relationship with Stitt, Thompson responded, “I wouldn’t.”

Thompson also was asked about what he thought about the governor’s handling of the situation.

“He is the boss,” Thompson said. “That is his style. At the end of the day, nobody can tell him differently.”

Stitt recently sent a letter to U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin requesting that COVID-19 vaccine mandates be suspended for members of the Oklahoma National Guard.

“This mandate violates the personal freedoms of many Oklahomans, as it asks them to potentially sacrifice their personal beliefs in order to not lose their jobs,” Stitt wrote.

Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor, who was appointed by Stitt, has sued the federal government over vaccine mandates.

Thompson said he had no comment on the letter but was doing everything he could to get compliance with the federal requirement for vaccinations, as “is everyone in the U.S. military.”

“It is a requirement,” he said.

Charlie Hannema, a Stitt spokesman, said the governor’s replacement of Thompson wasn’t related to vaccine requirements. He said Stitt had started a search for Thompson’s replacement and decided on Mancino.

The governor felt it was time to make the change for the “continuity of operations,” Hannema said.

Thompson, 58, was with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol for 28 years, seven as Department of Public Safety commissioner.

He has been with the Oklahoma National Guard for 38 years and had served for four years as adjutant general.

As for his future, “I have got some kind of leads I am working on right now,” Thompson said. “I think there is a lot I have to give. I am still going to work to see if I have some opportunities to do that.”

Rep. Jay Steagall, R-Yukon, and Sen. J.J. Dossett, D-Owasso, House and Senate chairmen of the Oklahoma Legislative Veterans Caucus, issued a statement, saying:

“On behalf of the Oklahoma Legislative Veterans Caucus, we would like to thank outgoing Oklahoma Adjutant Gen. Maj. Gen. Michael Thompson for his many years of service to our state and country. The Veterans Caucus welcomes our newly appointed TAG, Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Mancino. We look forward to working with the general to address issues that are of the utmost importance to our Army and Air National Guard members and their families.”

Featured video: ‘It was an incredible, brave act.’ Maj. Gen. Michael C. Thompson speaks at a Purple Heart ceremony

The ceremony honored Technical Sergeant Marshal Roberts, who was killed while serving in Iraq and Technical Sergeant Ariel White, who was injured in the same attack.

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