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USTRANSCOM’s Joint Transportation Reserve Unit commander retires

Air Force Gen. Darren W. McDew (left), commander, U.S. Transportation Command, presents the Certificate of Retirement to Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas E. Kittler (right), U.S. Transportation Command’s Joint Transportation Reserve Unit commander, at Kittler’s May 6 retirement ceremony held at USTRANSCOM at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Photo by Navy Capt. Garrett Kasper, USTRANSCOM/PA


Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas E. Kittler, U.S. Transportation Command’s Joint Transportation Reserve Unit commander, celebrated his retirement in a ceremony at USTRANSCOM on Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, after nearly 35 years of active service. The ceremony was officiated by Air Force Gen. Darren W. McDew, USTRANSCOM commander.

Kittler entered the Air Force in 1984 through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering.

After graduating from Undergraduate Pilot Training, Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, Kittler was assigned as the C-21, Chief of Safety, Detachment 1, 1402nd Military Airlift Squadron, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia.

Throughout his career, Kittler also served as an executive officer, squadron scheduler, chief of current operations, flight commander, chief pilot, squadron commander, operations group deputy commander and vice wing commander. He has deployed in support of operations Just Cause, Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Joint Endeavor and Joint Forge.

“I’d say my greatest achievement on active duty was finishing pilot training,” said Kittler. “While in the reserves, I’d say the greatest challenge was preparing and taking a reserve C-130 squadron to war.  We had plumbers, electricians and stay-at-home moms that came to the sound of the gun.”  

Kittler reported for duty to USTRANSCOM in September 2015.

He said he has cherished his relationship with Gen. McDew and admires that McDew understands what reservists bring to the table. Kittler also acknowledged the importance of McDew’s thoughtfulness as a leader.

Additionally, Kittler highlighted Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, Gen. Carter F. Ham and Maj. Gen. Mark R. Zamzow as leaders whose example left a very distinct impression on his Air Force career.

When asked about the impact his family had on his career, Kittler said, “My family has supported me completely, and without question, I would not have wanted to do it without their support.”

Kittler intends to stay in the Chicago area, where he will continue his civilian career as a pilot for American Airlines.

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