SANDSTON, Va. –
Maj. Gen. Blake C. Ortner has been selected to serve as the Military Executive for the Reserve Forces Policy Board in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, according to an announcement made March 21, 2018, by Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. The position is effective April 1, 2018.
“The assignment of Maj. Gen. Ortner to this position is a result of his vast experience, and we are excited to see him represent Virginia at this level,” Williams wrote in the announcement. “Maj. Gen. Ortner has served as the 29th Infantry Division commander since July 2015, including command of Task Force SPARTAN at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, from December 2016 to July 2017. He has been a remarkable leader and visionary for our organization, propelling the 29th to new heights. I have no doubt that he will continue his exemplary service to our nation in this new capacity.”
The incoming 29th Infantry Division commander will be selected during the week of April 2-6, 2018, followed by a formal announcement to the field, Williams wrote in the announcement.
Ortner is as 1983 graduate of University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn., where he received a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations. He also holds a Masters Degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College Class of 2010.
He received a Regular Army commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps as an Infantry officer and served on active duty until 1987. In 1989, Ortner joined the Virginia Army National Guard, serving in numerous assignments during more than 20 years in the 116th Infantry Regiment and 29th Infantry Division to include rifle company commander, battalion operations officer, battalion commander, brigade operations officer, brigade executive officer, brigade deputy commander, brigade commander and division operations officer. In 2001, Ortner served as the Division Chief of Operations, Multi-National Division – North as part of the 29th Infantry Division support of Operation Joint Forge in Bosnia-Herzegovinian.
Ortner commanded 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Infantry Regiment and deployed the battalion in 2004 to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as the first Virginia National Guard infantry battalion to deploy to combat since World War II. In 2007, Ortner was assigned as the deputy commander of the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he served as a member of the Multi-National Forces – Iraq Area Support Group and later as the chief of operations for MNF-I. He assumed command of the 116th IBCT in June 2009. In May 2011 the brigade headquarters was mobilized for combat operations in Afghanistan supporting Operation Enduring Freedom where he commanded Combined Team Zabul which included active duty and NATO Romanian infantry battalions.