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10th ABW command changes hands

Col. Rick LoCastro, right, accepts the 10th Air Base Wing guidon from Lt. Gen. Mike Gould during the 10th ABW change-of-command ceremony at the U.S. Air Force Academy July 23, 2009. Colonel LoCastro was previously vice commander of the 96th ABW at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. General Gould is the Academy superintendent. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

Col. Rick LoCastro, right, accepts the 10th Air Base Wing guidon from Lt. Gen. Mike Gould during the 10th ABW change-of-command ceremony at the U.S. Air Force Academy July 23, 2009. Colonel LoCastro was previously vice commander of the 96th ABW at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. General Gould is the Academy superintendent. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Col. Rick LoCastro took command of the 10th Air Base Wing during a ceremony here July 23. 

He comes to the 10th ABW from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., where he served as the 96th ABW vice commander. 

The 10th ABW's new commander previously served as the 96th Mission Support Group commander, Eglin AFB; Allied Air Component Headquarters Support Group commander, Ramstein, Germany; 89th Airlift Wing Mission Support Group vice commander, Andrews AFB, Md.; and, 7th Bomb Wing Mission Support Squadron commander, Dyess AFB, Texas. 

The colonel said the Academy has always been a special place to him as a 1988 grad but now it will be just as special to his family. 

"As a 1988 grad, it's a bit surreal to come back here," Colonel LoCastro said. "It seems like yesterday I was running to class on the terrazzo and eating in Mitchell Hall." 

Colonel LoCastro said supporting the "Academy" doesn't just mean supporting the school ... but the entire installation. 

"The Academy isn't just a one-of-a-kind academic institution -- it's a functioning Air Force base with plenty of other needs on it as well," he said. "Without question, the 10th ABW has the honor of running the premier installation in our service. Not only providing support to cadets and staff, but also maintaining, sustaining and improving a base that is second to none." 

Colonel LoCastro has built quite a reputation, according to the 96th ABW commander. 

"He excelled as both Mission Support Group Commander and Vice Commander at DOD's largest installation, Eglin Air Force Base," said Col. Bruce McClintock, 96th ABW commander. "I am confident that he and his wife Rosie will bring a dynamic and engaged style to the 10 ABW that will inspire those he leads at the Academy." 

Colonel LoCastro takes command from Brig. Gen. Jimmy McMillian, who will assume duties as the Air Force Director of Security Forces at the Pentagon. 

Colonel LoCastro said he can't describe how honored he feels to lead any ABW, but returning to where it all started is even better. 

"I threw my hat in the air to begin this journey," Colonel LoCastro said. "Now I return with the same car (although my 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertible has been fully restored), the same girl (now my wife Rosie) and two fantastic children (Scott and Gina). It is without a doubt, an honor, privilege and an amazing opportunity to serve."