Maj. Gen. Joseph Taluto, New York's top soldier and President Barack Obama's nominee to lead the Army National Guard, is retiring and withdrawing from consideration for the appointment.
Congressional approval of the appointment was delayed when the widow of slain Army Capt. Phillip Esposito blamed Taluto for not doing more to prevent Esposito and another soldier from being killed in Iraq in 2005.
Taluto, 61, said in a prepared statement Thursday that he was withdrawing because the prolonged confirmation process had become a distraction.
He was appointed adjutant general of the New York National Guard in 2006 after serving as the commander of a combat division in Iraq. He retires after a 44-year career.