Former 143d Airlift Wing Commander Receives Second Star

  • Published
  • By SSgt Erin Brogan
  • 143 Airlift Wing
Major General Thomas J. Haynes stood at attention as his own two star flag was unfurled for the first time on March 7, 2009. In a ceremony held at the Rhode Island State House, the rotunda was filled with well wishers from all aspects of his career, including Airmen and women from the 143d Airlift Wing here at Quonset. Promoted January 28, 2009, the ceremony honored the former 143d Airlift Wing Commander and RI Assistant Adjutant General for Air.

"It is fitting to be recognized for outstanding service in front of so many community [members] and colleagues," Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts said, smiling as she looked at the room overflowing with friends and family. Maj. Gen. Haynes asked his wife, Barbara, and Maj. Gen. (ret) Thomas Kane, former director of plans and programs for Air Mobility Command, to pin his new rank to his lapels. His step-son, Staff Sergeant Eric Cash of the 143d AW Fire Department, served as the Master of Ceremonies. The Burrillville High School Choir provided ceremonial music, singing a stirring rendition of the National Anthem.

"It is a special day for myself and my family," said Maj. Gen. Haynes. He recalled the modernization progress of the 143d and how his own journey paralleled. He joined the RIANG in 1980, flying the C-130 A-models. The base transitioned to the longer range E-model, and Maj. Gen. Haynes similarly transitioned to the Operations Group Commander. It was in 2001, during his tenure as base commander, that the 143d acquired the first of eight cutting edge C-130J-30s.

"We are who we are today because of the choices of yesterday. Likewise the future is because of the choices we make today," Maj. Gen. Haynes said. "It is a privilege for those who get to command and lead," said Maj. Gen. Robert T. Bray, Adjutant General of Rhode Island and Commanding General of the RING. "We are able to serve and careers are able to advance because of the people around us: NCOs, the junior enlisted, and others," he said, adding that, "Rhode Island is in the far reaches of the world during peace and war because of the skill of our people."

Maj. Gen. Haynes currently serves as the Air National Guard assistant to the commander, Air Mobility Command. In this capacity, he is responsible for advising the Commander and staff on all issues impacting the ANG and for the coordination of ANG issues through the Director of the ANG.