111th Attack Wing Commander returns to duty

  • Published

The commander of the 111th Attack Wing and Biddle Air National Guard Base in Horsham, Pennsylvania, Col. Deane Thomey, returned to duty on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, after a lengthy period of rehabilitation and recovery resulting from a plane crash in October 2021 that took the life of his daughter.

Thomey, who was seriously injured in the single-engine plane crash October 22, 2021 in Colleton County, South Carolina, was treated for several weeks in the intensive care unit at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. He was transferred in November 2021 to a medical facility near his home in Alexandria, Virginia for follow-on treatment and care. His beloved 24-year-old daughter, Madeline, was killed in the crash.

“We are all heartbroken at the loss of Madeline. Col. Thomey has made a remarkable recovery which has made his return possible,” said Col. Rebecca Gray, 111th ATKW Vice Commander, who stepped in to lead the Wing during Thomey’s recovery. “The entire 111th Attack Wing family is thankful to have our Wing Commander back at the helm to provide Pennsylvania and our nation a ready force--ready to meet any challenges that lay ahead."

Thomey was piloting a privately-owned Piper PA-28R-300 airplane when it went down in the vicinity of Walterboro, South Carolina.

Thomey, a native of Sherwood, Arkansas, took command of the 111th ATKW April 1, 2021, after an assignment as the Director, Air National Guard Director’s Action Group (DAG), Office of the Director of the Air National Guard, the Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia.

Thomey originally enlisted in the Arkansas Air National Guard in 1988 and was assigned to the 123rd Reconnaissance Technical Squadron, Little Rock Air Force Base. In 1992, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. upon graduating from the Academy of Military Science, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Thomey attended pilot training at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, graduating in November 1996.