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Wing commander trades active duty for ANG, calls Commonwealth home

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Claire Behney
  • 193rd Special Operations Wing

The Pennsylvania Air National Guard gained an active-duty Airman to its leadership ranks recently when Col. Mike Cason, 193rd Special Operations Wing commander, officially transitioned from the active-duty Air Force to the PaANG.


“I'm glad he's sticking around so he can continue the work he started as wing commander,” said Col. Mike Regan, Deputy Adjutant General – Air. “He has built an impressive leadership team, and I look forward to the 193rd SOW continuing to exceed all expectations under his leadership.”


Cason first joined the 193rd SOW in August 2013 as vice wing commander. In 2015, he was appointed as wing commander, all while maintaining dual status as an active-duty Airman and a member of the guard – a unique position that required approval from the Secretary of Defense.


A dual-status commander serves in both a federal (Title 10) status and state (Title 32) status, simultaneously.


After spending a few short years at the wing, Cason recognized his federal status would soon require a move to a new position – and a new place. 


"When the time came for me to begin the transition to a new role on active duty, I wrestled with that decision," Cason said. "I knew the short amount of time I'd spent at the 193rd SOW wasn't long enough to fully implement my vision or to effectively help the wing through the transformation of the Commando Solo mission.  We have a lot going on across the wing's units and I think leaving after just a year and half wouldn't be fair to them. "


Typically, active-duty commanders change jobs - and even duty stations - about every two years. In the National Guard, senior leaders often have the opportunity to remain in their current roles over a longer period of time.


“As an active duty officer, I knew that Mike would eventually have to evaluate his options when his assignment with the PaANG came to an end,” said Regan. “I think I may have thrown him for a loop when I asked him to officially join the PaANG and stay on as the wing commander for a while longer, adding another option for him and his family to evaluate. I was very glad to hear he was willing to stay on for a while.”


All options before him, Cason made the decision to exit active duty and officially join the PaANG, allowing him to continue on as wing commander and provide service to the Commonwealth into the foreseeable future.


Other non-mission-related factors played a role in Cason's decision to stay at the wing, too. 


"My three girls have embraced Pennsylvania. They've totally blossomed here," Cason said. "On active duty, we moved a lot. This summer will mark the longest time we've stayed in one place."


"We're actually talking about investing and making improvements to our home, rather than selling it this summer. This is a whole new and exciting experience," he added jokingly.