Mountain Men Change at Mountain Man

By Maj. David H. Patterson, Jr. | Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center | March 30, 2004

The end of an era led to a "new Deal" at the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center. On March 15, Maj. Gen. Kenneth M. “Mike” DeCuir relinquished command of CMOC to Brig. Gen. Duane Deal. The ceremony took place high above the city at Mountain Man Park while family, friends, service members, and well-wishers viewed the ceremony.

The presiding officer for the ceremony was General Ralph E. “Ed” Eberhart, Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command, Peterson Air Force Base. Colo. During the ceremony General Eberhart thanked Maj. Gen. DeCuir for his superior service during his tenure as commander. General Eberhart also stated that he couldn’t have found a better replacement than Brig. Gen. Deal.

During his farewell speech, Maj. Gen. DeCuir thanked his staff, command directors, and the personnel of CMOC for their commitment and dedication to duty. He stated, “Paula and I have enjoyed our Colorado experience and take with us fond memories of each of you.” He also thanked his wife Paula for her many years of support stating, “I know I married way above my draft pick and I am grateful to have someone as wonderful as you.” Maj. Gen. DeCuir was reassigned to Headquarters Air Combat Command as Director of Operations at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.

Prior to his assignment to the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center, Brig. Gen. Deal was Commander of the 21st Space Wing at Peterson AFB. He was responsible for the Air Force’s largest wing, geographically and organizationally, providing missile warning and space control through its 48 units operating from 20 locations in six countries.

Brig. Gen. Deal stated, “I am the happiest guy here today, and am honored and humbled to take command of such an organization. While I’m well aware of the granite mountain directly above my office--nearly 80,000 tons of it--knowing the magnificence of the engineers associated with this mountain, I’m confident it will bear that weight. I’m also well aware of how vital CMOC is to the defense of our nations, but knowing the magnificence of the members of CMOC, I’m confident they will bear that weight as well."

Brig. Gen. Deal entered the Air Force in 1976 as a distinguished graduate of the Air Force ROTC program. He has served as a senior pilot with more than 2,200 flying hours in seven aircraft types, including the SR-71 "Blackbird." Prior to coming to the Mountain, he commanded four squadrons, a group, and three wings.