Former 167th Commander Promoted to Brigadier General Published May 14, 2008 By Capt Andrew Schmidt 167AW May 3, 2008 -- "Today is a special day for the Vollmecke family and the Air National Guard. It's not every day you have the opportunity to pin a star on one of your comrades." And with that, Maj. Gen. Allen E. Tackett, adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard, officially announced Eric W. Vollmecke as the newest Brigadier General in the West Virginia Air National Guard and United States Air Force at a basewide formation held on the ramp Saturday morning. Formerly the commander of the 167th Airlift Wing, Gen. Vollmecke left to become Chief of Staff for the West Virginia Air National Guard in September 2007. "It's an honor and a privilege to pay tribute to Eric and his family," Gen. Tackett said. "He has a great deal of experience in every aspect of operations." Gen. Tackett gave special thanks to Gen. Vollmecke's wife for the support she has provided throughout his career. "The real general in the family is his wife, who looked after five children when her husband was away on missions." He read a message from Gen. Vollmecke's younger brother Kirk, a U.S. Army colonel who is currently deployed for an extended period to Iraq. "The star you wear today comes with great responsibility," it said. "You and the 167th epitomize the best of the citizen Airman." "A dream of mine has been realized today," Gen. Vollmecke said to the men and women of the unit that he commanded from 2004-2007. "I ask that each of you in attendance today think about your dreams and what you can do to achieve them." Col. Vollmecke replaced Col. Jesse Thomas as commander in January 2004. During his tenure he oversaw the beginnings of the unit's conversion from the C-130 Hercules to the C-5 Galaxy and the associated $250 million base construction project. He also led the unit to an "Excellent" rating in the 2004 Operational Readiness Inspection. "It was clearly a strong excellent, and I'm glad we trained as hard as we did in preparation for it," he said at the time. Col. Vollmecke was mobilized in April 2005 and named commander of the 451st Air Expeditionary Group at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. He served in that capacity from May to September 2005, commanding a group of about 300 Airmen during a period of the heaviest fighting in the area since the initial U.S. invasion in 2001. In recognition for his service there in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Col. Vollmecke was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.