Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Colonel Thomas Bergeson Tapped To Succeed General Thomas Tinsley As 3rd Wing Commander At Elmendorf AFB, Alaska

Colonel Thomas Bergeson (pictured front and center above), who was slated to become commander of the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base near Goldsboro, NC, has been diverted to Elmendorf AFB, Alaska to take over as commander of the 3rd Wing, which provides expeditionary force training involving approximately 6,600 troops and five different types of aircraft. He replaces the late General Thomas Tinsley, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his quarters on July 27th, 2008. Media stories published in the Anchorage Daily News, the Air Force Times, and WRAL Channel 5 in Raleigh.

Col. Bergeson's official biography has not been released to the public yet, but from the Goldsboro News-Argus we learn that he is a command pilot with over 3,100 flight hours logged. A veteran of service in Iraq, he's been serving there as chief of the aviation division at Multi-National Forces Iraq (MNF-I), in which he articulated air power requirements in theater and worked with the Iraqi government to promote civil aviation in the country -- standing up airports, working on national aviation law and establishing security for commercial flights. This is a genuine "purple-suit" position, requiring interaction with troops from every branch of the Armed Forces as well as with the Iraqis.

Prior to his assignment in Iraq, Col. Bergeson was vice commander of Langley Air Force Base's 1st Fighter Wing, where he flew the F-22A Raptor, and before that, commanded the 1st Operations Group. Since the 3rd Wing has F-22A Raptors assigned and also has a varied and complex mission, Col. Bergeson's recent experience makes him a solid match for the job. Full colonels (O-6) who are selected for positions previously filled by brigadier generals (O-7) are considered to be on the fast track for promotion to BG.

Col. Bergerson has expertise on expeditionary force doctrine. In the FY2002 annual report of the USAF Institute for National Security Studies, he is identified in the bibliography as the author of a paper entitled "Shielding the Sword: Air Base Air Defense and the AEF[E]".

Col. Bergeson has a wife, Pamela, and two children, 14-year-old Kristin and 12-year-old Erik. While he was enthusiastically anticipating his assignment to Seymour Johnson AFB, he will undoubtedly transfer that professional enthusiasm to Alaska. But he takes over from a wing commander who was highly regarded and renowned for his ability to connect with the junior officers and airmen; two thousand people showed up for General Tinsley's memorial service.

While General Tinsley was pronounced to have died by his own hand, as previously discussed HERE, Air Force pathologists continue their investigation to determine if it was accidental or by suicide. They expect to conclude the investigation by the end of August.

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