Pemberton assumes command of the Freedom Wing

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen
  • 514th Air Mobility Wing

“You can expect me to be a servant leader, to treat everyone with respect, and to work diligently to ensure you receive the best training possible to do your jobs and do them well,” said Col. Thomas O. Pemberton, the new commander of the 514th Air Mobility Wing. “And you can expect me to never take for granted the responsibility we have to protect our nation.”


During an assumption of command ceremony at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, July 14, 2018, Pemberton recognized the commitment made by the wing’s more than 2,000 Reserve Citizen Airmen.


“I know full well how much has been asked of you and your families over these many years,” said Pemberton. “The men and women who sacrifice time from their families and civilian careers to give back to this country.”


Prior to leading the 514th, Pemberton was the commander of the 459th Operations Group at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.


As the 514th commander, Pemberton leads the 22 Air Force Reserve Command subordinate units that support and provide air refueling, airlift, and aeromedical evacuation missions using the KC-10 Extender and C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.


“I look at these beautiful aircraft and I am amazed at the technological accomplishments,” said Pemberton. “That technology has made us a more lethal, more effective, and a more capable force.”


“Ultimately though, these aircraft are made of metal, plastics, glass, and composites and can do nothing by themselves. It takes the men and women of the 514th to maintain these aircraft, operate them, and support them.”


“It is that dedication that makes us strong.”


Pemberton was commissioned through the United States Air Force Officer Training School in 1985. After completing undergraduate navigation training at Mather Air Force Base, California, and KC-135 Stratotanker combat crew training at Castle Air Force Base, California, he served as a navigator and instructor with the 307th Air Refueling Squadron at K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base, Michigan and as an instructor and evaluator navigator with the 924th Air Refueling Squadron at Castle Air Force Base.


From 1990 to 1991, he deployed in support of Operations’ Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In 1992, Pemberton was selected as a B-1B Lancer offensive systems officer and served at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.


Pemberton joined the Air Force Reserve in 1993 and completed undergraduate pilot training in 1999. He has deployed numerous times in support of Operations’ Northern Watch, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom, as well multiple contingencies in various worldwide locations.


“I am proud to be a part of the most capable Air Force in the world,” said Pemberton. “I look forward to serving the men and women of the 514th Air Mobility Wing.”