By SSgt Hayden Johnson, 187th Fighter Wing
/ Published May 05, 2021
Col. Doug DeMaio took command of the 187th Fighter Wing May 5th, 2021. The new Red Tail One addressed his airmen and community leaders in a ceremony at Dannelly Field, Alabama. (U.S. Air Force video by Tech. Sgt. William Blankenship)
Col. Douglas D. DeMaio took command of the 187th Fighter Wing during a change of command ceremony May 5, 2021, at Dannelly Field, Alabama.
Brig. Gen. William L. Sparrow, Alabama Air National Guard commander, presided over the ceremony which transitioned authority of the wing from Col. Edward D. Casey to DeMaio.
“What this wing has accomplished under your leadership is astounding,” DeMaio said to Casey during the ceremony. “I look forward to continuing to serve with you in the coming years as colleagues, friends, and brothers in faith.”
Under Casey’s leadership, advancements were made for the base in preparation for the incoming F-35A Lightning II aircraft, with an arrival anticipated in 2024. DeMaio, the new Red Tail One, emphasized to wing members in attendance the importance of the wing’s mission and their role.
“In a few short years, the ramp behind you will be filled with F-35s,” DeMaio said. “You know our enemies are becoming more powerful every day and we must be ready for them. Our job will be to transition to the F-35 under the lens of agile combat employment and to train multi-capable airmen in the heritage of the Tuskegee Airmen.”
The ACE concept focuses on developing Airmen who are adept in disciplines outside of their normal day-to-day duties. Exercises like the wing’s deployment to Yuma, Ariz., earlier this spring, contribute to the evolution of a force of multi-capable Airmen and aircrew, improving mission readiness and increasing capabilities in less than optimal environments.
In addition to mission re-emphasis, Red Tail One highlighted the new wing vision to “Accelerate the Red Tail Legacy”. Drawing upon the wing’s heritage and the trail the Tuskegee Airmen blazed, DeMaio stressed their legacy and its continued importance.
“The Tuskegee Airmen won through meticulous preparation, rapid deployment, and outpacing the enemy at every turn.” he said. “This is the legacy we will build upon now with Agile Combat Operations. However, we cannot do it alone.”
Turning focus, Red Tail One expressed gratitude to River Region leaders and community members for their relationship with the wing and the value it adds to the wing’s overarching mission.
“We are looking to you to join with us in finding creative solutions to the challenges we all face.” DeMaio said. “This is the only way we will defeat our adversaries, by coming together with resolve to defend this great nation.”
DeMaio received his commission from the US Air Force Academy in 1991 and is a command pilot with over 3,000 flight hours. Prior to this command, he was the Vice Commander, Curtis E. LeMay Center for Doctrine Development, Lessons Learned, and Education, at Air University on Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.