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Tim J.
Former Democrat SD
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    Tribute to Colonel Mark E. Weatherington

    by Former Senator Tim Johnson

    Posted on 2013-03-18

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    JOHNSON of South Dakota. Mr. President, today I wish to recognize and congratulate the service of Col. Mark E. Weatherington, who will be ending his command at Ellsworth Air Force Base in early April.

    An Air Force Academy graduate, Colonel Weatherington has served in many leadership and flying positions over his impressive 23-year career. He is a B-1 pilot with 2,400 flight hours. Among his many assignments, Colonel Weatherington has served as commander of the 28th Bomb Wing at both Ellsworth AFB and Dyess AFB; served as chief of staff of the Air Force Fellow; was a National Defense Fellow with the Brookings Institution; and previously served at Ellsworth AFB as chief of weapons and tactics and then assistant operations officer of the 77th Bomb Squadron and wing weapons officer of the 28th Operations Support Squadron.

    Colonel Weatherington has served as commander of the 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base, the largest B-1 combat wing in the U.S. Air Force, since May 2011. He has distinguished himself during his 2-year stint at the South Dakota installation. He has provided expert guidance during the process to bring the first MQ-9 Reaper squadron, the 432nd Attack Squadron, to Ellsworth Air Force Base, while maintaining the great legacy of the B-1 aircraft and the personnel of the 28th Bomb Wing. Last year, Colonel Weatherington presided over Ellsworth Air Force Base's 70th Anniversary festivities.

    Colonel Weatherington's current stint at Ellsworth Air Force Base has lasted just shy of 2 years, but he has provided a lasting impact, overseeing 4,300 military and civilian personnel in the day-to-day operations of the base, as well as the ongoing rotation of airmen to overseas action in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He has maintained a strong relationship between the Base and Black Hills communities, namely Rapid City and Box Elder. For decades there has been a very warm and cordial relationship between Black Hills residents, businesses, and charitable organizations and the personnel and leadership command of Ellsworth Air Force Base. Colonel Weatherington has been committed to maintaining this bond. The relationship between the civilian and military communities remains very strong, and this relationship continues to make the Black Hills a great retirement option for military retirees who once served at Ellsworth Air Force Base.

    Colonel Weatherington will now move to the Pentagon where he will serve as Military Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Dr. Ashton Carter. This role will bring new challenges and responsibilities, but I know the leadership, professionalism, and stewardship Colonel Weatherington showed during his time at Ellsworth Air Force Base will serve him well at the Pentagon and throughout his career. I commend Colonel Weatherington for his service to Ellsworth Air Force Base and his continued service to the U.S. Air Force. I wish him, Stephanie, and their family all the best in future endeavors. ____________________

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