MADISON — The Wisconsin National Guard’s new leader took the oath of office Thursday, officially inheriting a command that was rocked by a scathing sexual assault scandal.
Gov. Tony Evers promoted Brig. Gen. Paul Knapp to major general during a ceremony Thursday in the governor’s state Capitol conference room. State Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Dallet then swore him in as the Guard’s commander as Evers and members of Knapp’s family looked on.
Knapp replaces Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, who resigned in December at Evers’ request. Dunbar stepped down hours before Evers’ administration released results from a federal investigation that found multiple shortcomings in the Guard’s sexual misconduct reporting protocols under Dunbar’s watch, most notably commanders opening internal investigations rather than referring complaints to Army or Air Force criminal investigators as required by federal law and Department of Defense policy.
Knapp graduated in 1992 from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and previously served as a special agent for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. He served two tours as an F-15E weapon systems officer and one as an air liaison officer to the U.S. Army in South Korea. Knapp left active duty in 2003. He served the past year as backup to the commander at the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.
Thursday marked the Wisconsin National Guard’s 183rd anniversary. The Guard was formed on March 5, 1837, when territorial Gov. Henry Dodge commissioned Morgan L. Martin of Green Bay as commander of the Green Bay Rangers, a volunteer rifle unit.