by Tech. Sgt. Vernon Cunningham
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — Brig. Gen. Thomas Deale (right) accepts the guidon from Maj. Gen. Tod Wolters during the 455th Air Expeditonary Wing change of command ceremony at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Mar. 1, 2012. Deale is the 455th AEW commander and Wolters, the presiding officer, is the commander of the 9th Air and Space Expeditonary Task Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ericka Engblom) Hi-res
3/1/2012 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Airmen of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing welcomed their new commander during a change of command ceremony at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, March 1, 2012.
Brig. Gen. Thomas Deale, previously assigned as commander of the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, assumed command from Maj. Gen. Darryl Roberson.
Maj. Gen. Tod Wolters, 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Afghanistan commander, presided over the ceremony.
"He possesses a unique combination of A-10 technical expertise and unmatched interpersonal skills," said Wolters. "We are absolutely convinced that this is the right time, the right place, and the right setting for Brigadier General Thomas Deale to take the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing to new heights."
Wolters further emphasized how Deale's new mission was well matched by addressing how the A-10 Thunderbolt is the number one weapon in the air domain of Regional Command-East and Deale has piloted an A-10, commanded an A-10 war-fighting operations group, and commanded two A-10 war-fighting operational wings.
"Brigadier General Deale will be a leader, from the front, with an unmatched degree of lethality that will render the educated enemy hopeless," he said.
Deale accepted command of the 455th AEW and rendered his first salute to a formation of Airmen who represented the wing.
During his remarks he thanked Wolters for the continued trust and confidence. He also thanked Roberson for his leadership and personal sacrifices while leading the 455th AEW to the forefront of the Air Force. He also thanked the Coalition, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and joint service partners.
"Being selected to command in the United States Air Force is truly an honor," said Deale. "There is no higher calling, no higher privilege for an Airman than to command in combat. And to be called upon to do it twice is an even rarer privilege, and an opportunity that I am honored to have."
He also acknowledged the proud heritage of the 455th AEW and thanked the men and women of the wing for their service. In addition, he spoke about how the wing will continue, together, to develop as Airmen, professionals and warriors as critical airpower is delivered in support of the coalition team.
"Always remember why we are here," said Deale. "To support our coalition and NATO forces in combat operations, to help develop the Afghan National Security Forces, and ultimately for our coalition to transition security responsibility to the Afghan Government. Ultimately, their success is our success."
Roberson's next assignment is Director, Strategic Planning, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Programs, Headquarters United States Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, DC.
Official USAF online biography of Brigadier General Thomas H. Deale (as of March 2012). A hi-res picture is currently not available.
Note: This significant and unusual change of command took place shortly after the switch of the currently deployed A-10 "Total Force" aircraft package from Kandahar to Bagram Airfield as the result of a so-called "CAS reset". It looks to me like the A-10C mission will dominate Bagram air operations for the next future, alongside the F-15E Strike Eagle mission. And Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Deale will be on the right time on the right place. As already reported by Warthog News, the currently deployed F-16C ANG "Rainbow Team" switched from Bagram to Kandahar Airfield.
BTW: Maj. Gen. Tod Wolters, 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Afghanistan commander, emphasized that "the A-10 Thunderbolt is the number one weapon in the air domain of Regional Command-East". That makes me happy, especially due to proposed further A-10C cuts. And for the "grunts" on the ground (U.S. Army soldiers, United States Marines, members of U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) teams or NATO units, the "Hog" is still their WEAPON OF CHOICE!!!
Picture of Brigadier General Thomas A. Deale as of December 2011:
451st AEW welcomes new commander
Airmen bid farewell to 451st AEW commander
From the history books:
Col. Thomas "Big" Deale prepares for his A-10 fini flight with A-10 80-0251 December 2, 2009, at Osan AB, Republic of Korea. Col. Deale will relinquish command of the wing to Col. Patrick Malackowski in a change of command ceremony December 7. After serving as the 51st Fighter Wing commander for 14 months, Col. Deale was selected to become the Director of Colonel Management at the Pentagon. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephenie Wade) Hi-res
Mustang One's last ride
BTW: It's a pleasure to see old "Hog" drivers in prominent command positions within AFCENT on the frontlines... My best wishes to Brig. Gen. Thomas Deale for his new job!