21st Space Wing commander found dead

Photo: Peterson Air Force Base
Photo: Peterson Air Force Base(KKTV)
Published: May. 13, 2020 at 12:04 PM MDT
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Peterson Air Force Base is grieving after the sudden death of the commander of the 21st Space Wing.

Col. Thomas G. Falzarano was found unresponsive in his on-base home Tuesday and was later pronounced dead by first responders. Peterson Air Force Base says there is no indication the death was COVID-related and appears to have been from natural causes.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss for our Air and Space Force family,” said Gen. Jay Raymond, chief of Space Operations, in a statement to media. “Tom was an incredible leader, mentor and friend who will be remembered for his warm personality and dedicated service to our nation. Our heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to his family, friends and all members of the 21st Space Wing.”

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers called the colonel's passing a huge loss for the community.

“We were shocked to learn of the death of Col. Falzarano. Since he assumed command at Peterson, he was a great partner in working with the city on a variety of matters. As an example, he organized the rest of the area base commanders to work with the city on Coronavirus issues. This is a tremendous loss for our community and our hearts go out to his family.”

El Paso County commissioners issued a joint statement.

"As a region, we join with our friends at Peterson Air Force Base to mourn the unexpected loss of Col. Thomas G. Falzarano. We thank him and his family for their dedicated service and sacrifice for the protection of our country. We pray that his family and loved ones will be blessed with healing and peace during this difficult time.”

Falzarano earned a Bachelor of Science from the Air Force Academy in 1994 and later earned a master's from Troy State University. During his military career, Falzarano served on the staff of the Multi-National Force-Iraq at the U.S. Embassy in the International Zone, Baghdad as well as on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon. He took command of the 21st Space Wing 10 months ago. The 21st Space Wing is the fifth-largest space wing in the Air Force.

Col. Sam Johnson, 21st Space Wing vice commander, will be assuming command of the space wing.

“Col. Falzarano was a fearless leader who was motivated by taking care of his family and Airmen, Johnson said. "He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, and we are providing every comfort and assistance that we can to them.”

Editor's note: The original version of this article said Falzarano was found dead Wednesday.