Pacific edition, Thursday, May 31, 2007

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — An Air Force colonel who headed an operations group at Kunsan Air Base is slated to command an entire fighter wing at Osan Air Base.

Col. Jon A. Norman, 42, will replace Brig. Gen. Joseph Reynes Jr. as commander of Osan’s 51st Fighter Wing during a June 15 ceremony.

The wing is based 48 miles south of Korea’s Demilitarized Zone and flies F-16 fighters, A-10 attack planes and the C-12 passenger plane. It’s the most forward-deployed, permanently based fighter wing in the Air Force.

Norman until recently was commander of the 8th Operations Group, part of Kunsan’s 8th Fighter Wing.

Reynes will move to a new assignment at Air Combat Command as inspector general.

The 51st Fighter Wing commander’s position typically is a two-year assignment. Although recent commanders of the wing have been one-star generals, Norman will not be the first colonel to lead it.

“In fact, the majority of the commanders that the 51st Wing has had throughout its history were colonels,” said wing chief spokesman Lt. Col. Michael E. Shavers.

The 8th Fighter Wing also is led by a colonel, currently Col. Charles Q. Brown, who assumed command May 25, replacing Col. Jeffrey G. Lofgren.

Norman headed the 8th Operations Group until May 18.

He is a 1986 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he received a bachelor’s degree, according to his official Air Force biography. He also holds a master’s degree in military arts and science from the Army’s Command and General Staff College, and a master’s in national security studies from the National War College.

And he’s a command pilot with more than 3,000 flight hours.

Among his decorations are the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster and the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters.

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