NASHVILLE, Tenn.(WVLT)--Tennessee's Air National Guard's 118th wing has a new leader. Colonel Thomas C. “Chuck” Echols, of Franklin is the new commander.
Maj. Gen. Max Haston, Tennessee’s Adjutant General says Echols is “the right man at the right time to take command of one of the oldest Air National Guard Wings in the nation and at a critical time in its history.
“After nearly 100 years of flying some type of aircraft in the skies over Nashville, the new mission of the 118th encompasses intelligence, cyber warfare and remote piloted aircraft, and is vital to the security of our state and nation.”
Col. Echols takes over from Col. Douglas Delozier who commanded the 118th since 2007. Echols has served as the Vice Wing Commander and Air Commander of the 118th since 2010.
He graduated from the University of Alabama where he was commissioned in 1984. Prior to joining the 118th in 1991, he served seven years in the United States Air Force as a T-37 Instructor Pilot; he also piloted the KC-135 Stratotanker.
Prior to his current assignment, Col. Echols served as the Base Commander of the Department of Defense designated International C-130 Training Wing, training aircrews from the Air National Guard, the U.S. Air Force and various partner nations in C-130 tactical operations.
Col. Echols has extensive warfare, contingency and humanitarian operational experience. He has commanded at both group and squadron level, and flown more than 4,800 military flying hours in the T-37, T-38, KC-135 and C-130 aircraft. He has more than 180 combat flying hours in support of Operations Provide Promise, Noble Eagle, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He is a 2008 graduate of the Air War College.
The new primary mission for the 118th Wing is providing the United States Air Force with its most comprehensive Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Wing. This is accomplished through the synergistic efforts of highly trained citizen airmen aligned within specific mission-oriented groups. Each group is poised to carry out the directives of higher headquarters through the disciplines of remotely piloted aircraft, intelligence/targeting and cyber/ISR resources.