by Tech. Sgt. Emily F. Alley
451 AEW Public Affairs
7/15/2011 - KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Deale took command of the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing from Brig. Gen. Paul Johnson during a change of command ceremony July 14 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
Maj. Gen. Tod D. Wolters, commander of the 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force, officiated the ceremony.
Distinguished guests included MAJ GEN James L. Terry, USA, Commander of Regional Command-South and Brig. Gen. Jeffrey B. Kendall, USAF, NATO commander of Kandahar Airfield, along with other welcomed guests and officials. A formation of 120 wing members watched with a gathering of onlookers as Deale became the third commander to lead the wing. He began his opening comments reflecting on his combat experiences from Operation DESERT STORM when he served together with Gen. Johnson flying the A-10 Thunderbolt II.
Brig. Gen. Deale also vowed to continue the wing's success in combat. "We will continue with the highest standards of professionalism and combat effectiveness set by those who have gone before us, and we will ensure that we maintain the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing's legacy for those who will join is in the months and years to come," he said.
Brig. Gen. Deale came to the 451 AEW from the Air Staff in Washington D.C. He is a graduate of the Air Force Academy, a combat experienced aviator, and previously commanded the 51st Fighter Wing in Korea.
He will command the wing as it continues its mission to provide persistent and powerful airpower presence in Afghanistan through tactical airlift, close air support, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, combat search and rescue, and casualty and aeromedical evacuation among other missions.
"I am humbled by the opportunity and proud to be here," said Deale. "There is no higher calling, no higher privilege for an Airman than to command in combat."
In closing Gen. Deale challenged the wing to always remember why they are at Kandahar: "to support our coalition and NATO ground forces in combat operations...their success is our success."
(Left) Maj. Gen. Tod Wolters, Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Vallely, Brig. Gen. Thomas Deale and Brig. Gen. Paul Johnson stand at attention near the conclusion of the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing change of command ceremony at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan, July 14, 2011. Maj. Gen. Wolters is the 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force commander, Chief Master Sgt. Vallely is the 451st AEW command chief master sergeant, Brig. Gen. Thomas Deale is the incoming 451st AEW commander and Brig. Gen. Paul Johnson is the outgoing 451st AEW commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Corey Hook)