HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. – The 49th Wing welcomed its new vice commander last month, when Col. James Thompson took over for Col. Kenneth Ekman.
Thompson comes to Holloman from the Geneva Center for Security Policy in Geneva, Switzerland, where he served as a defense fellow. He was the sole US (and western hemisphere and native English speaker) representative in a class of 31 senior level diplomats, military, legal and non-governmental organization representatives from multiple different countries. This class included personnel from the North Korean Army and Air Force (DPRK), Chinese Intelligence, Russian Intelligence, Belgium, Romania, Germany, France, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, South Sudan, Nigeria, Tanzania, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, India, Azerbaijan, Switzerland, Hungary, Ukraine, Poland, Algeria, Egypt, and Oman.
“The course consisted of multiple foreign trips including an eight day military exercise at the Ecole de Guerre in Paris,” distinguished graduate from the Air Force Academy said. “We had guest lecturers and experts from every field and every region of the world, talking about consistent threats to military and diplomatic security.”
This will not be Thompson’s first time to step foot on Holloman. He was here from May 2001 to May 2006 as a pilot and instructor pilot with the F-117A Nighthawk.
His recent assignments include commander, chief of Wing Safety, F-16 pilot, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany; commander, 4th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan; and deputy commander, 9th Operations Group, Beale Air Force Base, Calif.
Thompson is a command pilot with more than 2,500 flying hours in the F-16, SGS-2-33, MC-12W and F-117A. In addition, he has more than 769 combat hours in a number of aircraft. He earned his commission in 1994 after graduating from the United States Air Force Academy. He is also a distinguished graduate from Squadron Officer School, winner of the Professor Malham A. Wakin Award for the Air Force Academy Leader of the Year and winner of the Anthony C. Shine Fighter Pilot of the Year award from Air Combat Command. Additional decorations include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Achievement Medal and Combat Readiness Medal with three oak leaf clusters.
“I look forward to working with Colonel Thompson to ensure Team Holloman remains an asset in our nation’s defense, while preparing for the upcoming F-22 transition and arrival of the F-16s,” Colonel Andrew Croft said. “Please join me in welcoming the Thompson family back to Holloman. They will be a wonderful addition to Team Holloman, to the Tularosa Basin and the future success of the 49th Wing.”