COLORADO SPRINGS — The commander of Peterson Air Force Base's 21st Space Wing died Tuesday of natural causes, according to the base.
Col. Thomas G. Falzarano has been commander of the 21st Space Wing since July 2019. He was found unresponsive in his on-base home. While the cause of his death is still under investigation, PAFB officials said "initial indications are that it was due to natural causes."
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss for our Air and Space Force family,” said Gen. Jay Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, in a release. “Tom was an incredible leader, mentor and friend who will be remembered for his warm personality and dedicated service to our nation. Our heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to his family, friends and all members of the 21st Space Wing.”
He received his bachelor's degree at the U.S. Air Force Academy and his career included assignments in space, missile, fighter and mobility units. Before he was named commander, he served as executive officer to the commander, Air Force Space Command and the Joint Force Space Component Command.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers made a statement Wednesday on his passing: "We were shocked to learn of the death of Colonel Falzarano. Since he assumed command at Peterson, he was a great partner in working with the city on a variety of matters. As an example, he organized the rest of the area base commanders to work with the city on Coronavirus issues. This is a tremendous loss for our community and our hearts go out to his family.”
Col. Sam Johnson, who served as Falzarano's vice commander, will now take over as commander of the 21st Space Wing at the base.
“Col. Falzarano was a fearless leader who was motivated by taking care of his family and Airmen,” Johnson said in a release. “He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, and we are providing every comfort and assistance that we can to them.”