Maj. Gen. Larry Lafrenz, who helped oversee two of the largest deployments of Idaho’s National Guard during his tenure as adjutant general from 2005-2009, has died, the Idaho National Guard confirmed Friday. Maj. Christopher Borders said the National Guard learned of his passing early Friday morning.
“He was an inspirational leader,” Borders told the Idaho Statesman. “He was kind, and just a good person.”
Lafrenz joined the National Guard in 1966 and was appointed adjutant general by former Gov. Dirk Kempthorne on Jan. 15, 2005 at age 59. From 2004-2005, nearly 2,000 Idahoan soldiers from the 116th Brigade Combat Team were sent to Iraq, which was the largest deployment in state history. Lafrenz told the Idaho Legislature in 2009 that troops would likely be mobilized to either Iraq or Afghanistan that year; just after his retirement in late 2009, an additional 1,500 soldiers were sent to Iraq under “Operation New Dawn” in early 2010.
“I admired greatly the leadership and decision-making of General Lawrence Lafrenz as Idaho’s adjutant general. Whether dealing with natural disasters in Idaho or unprecedented deployments of our Guard, he was the right individual at the right time to lead the magnificent men and women of Idaho’s National Guard, Military Division, and Bureau of Homeland Security,” Kempthorne said in a statement. “He always put their needs and well-being before his own. He was a great man and soldier and I truly treasured his friendship.”
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Current Gov. Butch Otter also sent his regards.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of General Lafrenz, whose military career and exemplary service to the citizens of Idaho helped shape a generation of citizen soldiers as devoted as he was to protecting our values and way of life,” Otter said in a statement. “Larry was a warrior to the end and a great leader of the men and women who go into harm’s way on our behalf.”