Air University gains a star

Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, commander Air University administers the oath of office to Brig. Gen. Edward Thomas in the Non Commissioned Officer Academy at Maxwell Air Force Base, May 12, 2016.  Thomas is the commander of the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education. (US Air Force photo by Melanie Rodgers Cox)

Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, commander Air University administers the oath of office to Brig. Gen. Edward Thomas in the Non Commissioned Officer Academy at Maxwell Air Force Base, May 12, 2016. Thomas is the commander of the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education. (US Air Force photo by Melanie Rodgers Cox)

Brig. Gen. Edward W. Thomas Jr. is pinned by his father, Retired Army Maj. Edward W. Thomas, Sr. and Gen. Thomas’ wife, Dinah during his promotion ceremony at the Non Commissioned Officer Academy, Maxwell Air Force Base, May 12, 2016.  Thomas is only one of two career Public Affairs flag officers. (US Air Force photo by Melanie Rodgers Cox)

Brig. Gen. Edward W. Thomas Jr. is pinned by his father, Retired Army Maj. Edward W. Thomas, Sr. and Gen. Thomas’ wife, Dinah during his promotion ceremony at the Non Commissioned Officer Academy, Maxwell Air Force Base, May 12, 2016. Thomas is only one of two career Public Affairs flag officers. (US Air Force photo by Melanie Rodgers Cox)

New flag unfurls during Brig. Gen. Edward Thomas promotion ceremony in the Non Commissioned Officer Academy at Maxwell Air Force Base, May 12, 2016.  The term “flag officer” applies to all general officers authorized to fly their own command flags.  (US Air Force photo by Melanie Rodgers Cox)

New flag unfurls during Brig. Gen. Edward Thomas promotion ceremony in the Non Commissioned Officer Academy at Maxwell Air Force Base, May 12, 2016. The term “flag officer” applies to all general officers authorized to fly their own command flags. (US Air Force photo by Melanie Rodgers Cox)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --

Brig. Gen. Ed Thomas, the commander of the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education at Maxwell Air Force Base, is Air University’s newest general officer.  The Texas A&M graduate took command of the Barnes Center August 2015.

Air University commander Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast officiated and Gen. Thomas’ wife, Dinah, and father, Ret. Army Maj. Ed Thomas pinned on his stars.

Thomas says the assignment at AU has been one of his most fulfilling.

“Since attending my first educational experience here in 1995 I’ve been a huge fan of what AU brings to our Air Force.  But what I really did not understand was the impact of PME on our enlisted force.” he said. “Being part of the Barnes Center team this past year has been one of the best experiences of my career and my respect for our enlisted educators who underpin the professionalism of our NCO corps has grown to a new level.”

Thomas served in the Air Force for 26 years including assignments as the spokesman at the Pentagon for former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, a mission support group commander leading a 2,300-person unit in Alaska, and as an exchange officer in London at the Royal College of Defence Studies.

As a young company-grade officer, he was the editor of the Air Force’s flagship publication, Airman magazine. He has also served in North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Space Command U.S. Northern Command, and U.S. European Command. He has commanded the 341st Mission Support Squadron at Malmstrom AFB, Montana and held a variety of other leadership and staff positions.

Thomas said one of the great lessons he's learned being a military leader is that "it's not about you."  You do not succeed on your own and it is the team--with an abundance of God's grace--that powers success, he said.  "I've got a great many people in our Air Force family to whom I owe much'" he added.

Thomas’ four children, Caroline Hurdt, Wyatt and Melanee Kate Thomas, and Jefferson, opened the ceremony by singing the National Anthem in four-part harmony.