National Guard commander who led Afghan mission retires

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois National Guard says the commander who led its largest post-World War II deployment has retired.

Major Gen. Scott Thoele led the National Guard’s 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team to Afghanistan in 2008 and 2009. Roughly 3,000 members of the Illinois-based brigade were deployed.

The National Guard said Wednesday that Thoele officially retired at the end of September.

Thoele called his time as commander of the brigade the highlight of his 21-year career.

He is also a veteran of the war in Iraq.

Thoele also recently retired from his civilian job as vice president of a bank in Quincy where he and his wife, Paula, live.