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First dual-status commander takes charge of 193rd Special Operations Wing

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Claire Behney
  • 193rd Special Operations Wing
During a change-of-command ceremony on base Nov. 14, Col. Benjamin (Mike) Cason took command of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard's 193rd Special Operations Wing, Middletown, Pa.

It's the first time in history an Air Force Special Operations Command unit has appointed a dual-status commander. A dual-status commander serves in both a federal and state status simultaneously. Air Force-wide, Cason is the third active-duty Airman to serve as an Air National Guard commander. 

Approval to serve in this capacity must come from the Secretary of Defense and the governor, a process that takes several months to vet.

Cason first joined the 193rd SOW in August 2013 as a dual-status vice wing commander.

"Mike impressed us all from the first week he arrived here in Pennsylvania," said Brig. Gen. Tony Carrelli, commander, Pennsylvania Air National Guard, who presided over the change-of-command ceremony. "He was never the outsider, never the active-duty guy. He was one of us the first day he put on our patches. He is a tremendous officer who leads from the front and sets the example. He is an outstanding Airman, always displaying our core values of integrity, services and excellence."

As commander of one of the largest and most highly deployed Guard units in the nation, Cason is now responsible for the training and readiness of about 1,900 combat-ready Airmen and several  EC-130J aircraft, which provide military information support operations, electronic attack and special operations forces mobility in support of U.S. Special Operations Command and AFSOC. The wing also includes eight geographically separated units organized in a unique regional support group that provides various expeditionary combat support capabilities to the Air Force, Air Combat Command, Air Force Space Command, the National Guard and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

"It's the highest privilege to serve with our Airmen and patriots ... we will continue to build on the efforts and service of those who have preceded us, and we will set favorable conditions for those who will follow us," said Cason.

Upon receiving the 193rd SOW guidon from Carrelli, Cason received his first salute as commander of the 193rd SOW and addressed the Airmen in attendance.

"I couldn't have stepped into a better role than commander of this storied wing," said Cason. "Your accomplishments are incredible and resound through our formations. The 193rd SOW is in great demand; we're constantly getting tasked to provide more of what our amazing Airmen bring to the fight - from every unit and skillset. This wing is made up of Airmen - Citizen Airmen - who, when asked to leave home, a family and a career, always raise their hands and say, 'Send me.'"

Read Colonel Cason's full biography online at: