LOUISVILLE, Ky. –
After more than 30 years of service to the Kentucky Air National Guard, Col. David S. Lalonde was officially retired in a ceremony here May 14.
During the ceremony, Lalonde was presented with the Legion of Merit, a presidential certificate of appreciation and his certificate of retirement by Col. Robert Hamm, former commander of the 123rd Operations Group.
“Dave, in his leadership roles as flight commander, chief navigator and 123rd Operations Support Squadron commander, was a master communicator and worked very hard at it,” Hamm said. “His flight and squadron was always the most informed in the entire operations group because Dave took it upon himself to be exceedingly well informed, and most importantly, he did not keep that information to himself.
“Dave, thank you for your service,” Hamm said. “We’ve been peers and fellow warriors and compatriots, but what I cherish is your friendship of over 25 years. We each enjoyed and encouraged the successes of the other, and for that, I personally thank you.”
Lalonde most recently served as director of operations for Joint Force Headquarters—Kentucky and was the liaison officer between the wing’s operational units and air staff. He was responsible for monitoring and addressing organizational flying and maintenance performance, aircraft availability, aircrew flight and ground training proficiency metrics, and all operations supporting functional responsibilities as they relate to the 123rd Airlift Wing’s readiness and ability to perform its federal and domestic missions.
Lalonde graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1986 with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. He joined the Kentucky Air National Guard in 1990 and completed his undergraduate navigator and C-130 aircraft training in 1992.
While assigned to Kentucky’s 165th Airlift Squadron, Lalonde flew missions in South and Central America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East supporting Operations CORONET OAK in Panama; PROVIDE PROMISE and JOINT FORGE for humanitarian relief in Bosnia-Herzegovina; and SOUTHERN WATCH, the mission to enforce a no-fly zone over southern Iraq. Additionally, he served four tours with the Kentucky governor’s anti-drug joint-strike task force from 1995 to 1998.
Along with his position as director of operations, Lalonde served as a C-130 instructor, evaluator, flight commander, and chief navigator; and commander of the 123rd Operations Support Squadron. He has logged 5,560 flying hours and has been employed as a civilian by the Federal Aviation Administration for 15 years as an aviation safety inspector.
“I feel very lucky and privileged to have been here for 30 years,” Lalonde told the audience. “I wish you all the best in moving forward. Godspeed, and thank you.”