VOLK FIELD, Wis. - (NEWS RELEASE) - Col. Dave Romuald of Cottage Grove, Wis., formally became the 10th commander of the Wisconsin Air National Guard's Volk Field Air Base during a Jan. 3 ceremony.
"We are blessed in the Wisconsin Air National Guard with an incredibly deep bench," Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin, said during the ceremony. "But nobody is ready for this assignment more than the man sitting right here, Col. Dave Romuald."
Romuald joined the U.S. Air Force in 1981 and the Wisconsin Air National Guard in 1997. He was working as a commercial pilot when Brig. Gen. John McCoy, former assistant adjutant general for Air, contacted him about taking command at Volk Field.
"I was thrilled when Brig. Gen. McCoy called me and asked if I would consider coming out here to Volk Field," Romuald said. "[Then-Col. Ebben] assured me that Volk Field was full of very high-caliber people. I was really put at ease about taking this job.
"That's not to say that there won't be some challenges," Romuald continued. "You know that there are some serious financial challenges for our country, and therefore to the Department of Defense."
Among those challenges: a 25 percent funding cut to Combat Readiness Training Centers, of which one is located at Volk Field. Brig. Gen. Gary Ebben, the former commander at Volk Field and the new assistant adjutant general for Air, outlined a plan with Romuald that would structure the funding cuts in such a way as to lessen the impact at Volk Field. Romuald also cited Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's recent emphasis on prioritizing readiness in the defense budget.
"I think we have a bright future ahead of us," Romuald said. "I am confident we have the right people in place."
Ebben recalled some of the significant events during his time at the helm for Volk Field, including the NATO exercise Ramstein Rover and a memorial service for base namesake 1st Lt. Jerome Volk.
"I've been very blessed in my career to have many great assignments," Ebben said. "This ranks right up there at the top. For an aviation guy to come up here and you don't get to fly, that's saying something. It's been an extremely rewarding tour, an honor and a privilege."
Dunbar acknowledged the vision and efforts of retired generals Fred Sloan and Albert Wilkening, who expanded Volk Field's vision and capabilities, and praised Ebben for his leadership at Volk Field.
"Brig. Gen. Ebben, in his tenure here, has done an exceptional job," Dunbar said. "He continued to develop the relationships that we need, and quietly working with the National Guard Bureau and the United States Air Force, setting in place the kinds of procedures and initiatives we need to be relevant in the 21st century. It takes a very special leader to do what Brig. Gen. Ebben has done."
"I stand before you today very humbled, following in the footsteps of Brig. Gen. Ebben," he said. "I know I have a huge responsibility and reputation to uphold. I will give it my best effort."
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