Air Force Weather Agency holds change of command

  • Published
  • By Ryan Hansen
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs
On a sunny but brisk late winter day, the Air Force Weather Agency team gathered outside the Lt. Gen. Thomas S. Moorman headquarters building here for a change of command March 9.

During the time honored ceremony, Col. Louis Zuccarello assumed command from Col. Robert Russell, who will be retiring after 26 years in the Air Force.

"I am both humbled and honored to take on this command," Zuccarello said. "I promise I will do all I can to meet up to the high standards that has been set and that this organization has demonstrated throughout its history."

Zuccarello's new office will only be about 20 feet away from his current one as he has been AFWA's vice commander since February 2011.

"I've been with this organization for the past four years in a variety of roles and witnessed the absolutely amazing things you have accomplished," he said. "To all the men and women of the Air Force Weather Agency ... I look forward to being your commander and serving you for the next two years."

Maj. Gen. Brett T. Williams, the Air Force's director of operations and deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements, presided over the ceremony and officially welcomed Zuccarello to his new position.

"Lou has all of the pedigree he needs to take this position," Williams said. "I have every confidence that you will be extremely successful and I wish you the best of luck."

Zuccarello thanked Williams for the opportunity to lead AFWA and praised Russell for his dedication the past two years.

"It has been my privilege over the past two years to serve under the command of Col. Russell," he said. "There is no doubt he has led the Air Force Weather Agency to the next level. I'd like to personally thank him for the opportunity he provided me in assisting him in accomplishing our important mission, I've learned much from him and am proud to call him a friend."

Zuccarello was commissioned in 1985 as a distinguished graduate of the ROTC program at Pennsylvania State University. He has commanded a weather group and an operational weather squadron and has served in a variety of staff and operational assignments at the joint staff, air staff, AFWA, Air Force Personnel Center, Air Weather Service, 100th Air Refueling Wing and at Air Force Global Weather Central.

"There are many challenges that lie ahead but I am confident that (AFWA) will continue to meet each and every challenge head-on with the utmost commitment of our Air Force core values of integrity, excellence and service before self," Zuccarello said. "I join you in that commitment and look forward to seeing first-hand the amazing things this agency is destined to do in the years to come."

During the ceremony, Russell was awarded the Legion of Merit and said commanding AFWA since April 2010 has been "awesome."

"For the past two years I've had the honor and privilege of commanding the largest and most diverse weather unit in the U.S. Air Force and in fact, the Department of Defense," he said. "AFWA is about teamwork, it's about dedication, sacrifice, commitment, can-do no matter what attitude of the people who work in this organization. I'm humbled to have served with you all and I thank you."

AFWA is comprised of more than 1,400 active-duty members, civil service employees and contractors at 14 operating locations around the world. They provide centralized weather products and services including climatological and space weather support, to Air Force, Army, special operations, the intelligence community and other Department of Defense activities.