Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New MacDill commander takes the reins

Outgoing MacDill Air Force Base commander Col. Lenny Richoux, center, and his incoming replacement, Col. Scott DeThomas, talk during the change of command ceremony Friday at the base. 

SKIP O’ROURKE | Times

Outgoing MacDill Air Force Base commander Col. Lenny Richoux, center, and his incoming replacement, Col. Scott DeThomas, talk during the change of command ceremony Friday at the base. 

TAMPA

He's the "mayor" of a city within a city.

It's a place where the lives of 37,000 people intersect, from infants to retirees. More than $1 billion in salary is earned there annually. It's home to endangered and protected species.

The mayor's got a small Navy, air fleet and police force, responsibility for $2.8 billion of property, a $249 million annual budget and one heck of an airport.

He's the new commander of MacDill Air Force Base, Col. Scott "DeTom" DeThomas.

DeThomas, 47, a Rhode Island native who most recently served as commander of the 386th Air Expeditionary Group in Kuwait, took the MacDill helm Friday during a change-of-command ceremony in a base hangar.

He replaces Col. Lenny Richoux, who commanded the 6th Air Mobility Wing for two years.

Richoux now gets a coveted assignment in Belgium as special assistant to Adm. James Stavridis, chief of U.S. European Command.

In a ceremony as old as Rome, Richoux handed the wing's colors, or flag, to Lt. Gen. Mark Ramsay, commander of the 18th Air Force. Ramsay then handed the colors to DeThomas.

And with that simple act, he became commander before a crowd of a few hundred people, including Air Force personnel, family and a local politicians.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn was in the crowd. Unlike politicians, DeThomas will never have to sweat out a tight election.

"Fortunately, I didn't get elected," DeThomas said. "That's a good thing. But I'm pretty sure I can be fired."

DeThomas, who has a wife, a 15-year-old son, and a 6-year-old daughter, earned a Bronze Star for his work with the 386th, which included helping transport American troops and equipment out of Iraq. DeThomas spent the last year in Kuwait and said he is looking forward to the local cuisine.

He declined to talk about specific plans, but said he understands he has a daunting job. MacDill is one of the military's most important bases, home to U.S. Central Command and Special Operations Command.

"As the new guy, the last thing you want to do is break something that isn't broken," he said.

A pilot with more than 3,000 hours of flying time, DeThomas has flown a variety of planes, including large transport aircraft. But he hasn't piloted the KC-135, an air-refueling aircraft. MacDill is home to 16 of them.

"I've never given gas. I've always received," he said.

But DeThomas, a graduate of the Air Force Academy with more than 20 years of service, said he will soon undergo training so he can fly the KC-135s.

"I really couldn't ask for a better assignment," he said.

William R. Levesque can be reached at levesque@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3432.

New MacDill commander takes the reins 07/27/12 [Last modified: Friday, July 27, 2012 11:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics

    Blogs

    Winner of the week 1: 'Liquor wall’ proponents. Gov. Rick Scott’s veto of a bill to allow Walmart, Target and other big box stores to sell liquor was a victory for an array of groups, from smaller merchants and Publix (which has stand-alone booze shops near its stores) to those who feel the hard stuff …

  2. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

    Blogs

    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  3. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  4. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title

    Blogs

    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  5. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.