published Monday, August 9th, 2010

Interim superintendent named for battlefield

by Andy Johns


The Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park has units in two states and four counties including sites at Chickamauga Battlefield, Missionary Ridge, Lookout Mountain, Moccasin Bend and Signal Point.

Source: Park staff

Chickamauga Battlefield will have a new temporary commander in chief as officials fill the military park’s superintendent post.

Pat Kenney, now branch chief for the National Park Service planning unit in Denver, will be in town next week to meet with local staff before he takes over as interim superintendent of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park on Sept. 20.

“Is it still hot in Chattanooga?” Kenney asked in a phone interview, joking that he might wait in Colorado for temperatures to drop here.

An Iowa native who graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Kenney will replace Shawn Benge, who has been the park’s superintendent for 3 1/2 years. Benge said the department heads will run the show in the meantime, so most guests won’t notice the change.

“It will be seamless for the visiting public,” said Benge, who was promoted to deputy director of the National Park Service’s nine-state Southeast region. He leaves the Chickamauga park Friday.

Sam Weddle, a local spokesman for the park, said it probably will be four to six months before a permanent superintendent is named.

“It will take that long before we know,” he said.

The job is posted at, he said, but typically a superintendent post will be filled by someone already in the National Park Service.

Kenney, 46, has worked for the Park Service for 20 years and said he has wanted to be a park superintendent for some time. He said he has “an affinity” for the Southeast and might apply for the long-term position.

“To be honest, I’d say I haven’t made up my mind,” he said.

about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

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