COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — The commander of a U.S. Air Force base in Colorado was found dead in his home on the base, officials said.
Col. Thomas Falzarano was the commander of the 21st Space Wing at Peterson Air Force Base outside Colorado Springs, The Gazette reports.
The cause of his death was under investigation, “but initial indications are that it was due to natural causes,” the Air Force said in a statement.
The 47-year-old led one of the Air Force’s most crucial and complex organizations with troops from Greenland to the Indian Ocean, the Air Force said.
He was a 1994 Air Force Academy graduate and poised to be one of the top officers in the nation’s new Space Force, officials said.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss for our Air and Space Force family,” Gen. Jay Raymond, head of U.S. Space Command and the Space Force, said in a statement.
Falzarano held top space planning posts at the Pentagon and was a top aide to Raymond before taking command of the Colorado space wing in July.
“Tom was an incredible leader, mentor and friend who will be remembered for his warm personality and dedicated service to our nation,” Raymond said. “Our heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to his family, friends and all members of the 21st Space Wing.”
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said Falzarano was a “great partner” with the city in various matters.
“This is a tremendous loss for our community and our hearts go out to his family,” Suthers said.
El Paso County commissioners released a joint statement after his death thanking Falzarano and his family “for their dedicated service and sacrifice for the protection of our country.”