Col. Thomas Falzarano was found unresponsive at his home and pronounced dead at the scene, the 21st said in a news release.
According to the release, he is believed to have died of natural causes, but an investigation is underway.
“There are currently no indications [Falzarano was] positive for COVID-19,” the statement added.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss for our Air and Space Force family,” said Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations for the U.S. Space Force. “[Falzarano] 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.”
Falzarano took command of the 21st in July 2019. He also served as the installation commander for Peterson and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station in Colorado, as well as overseeing base support activities for Clear Air Force Station, Alaska; Cavalier Air Force Station, North Dakota; Cape Cod Air Force Station, Massachusetts; and Thule Air Base, Greenland, according to his official biography.
A 1994 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Falzarano was previously the executive officer for Air Force Space Command at Peterson. Members of Air Force Space Command are now technically assigned to the Space Force, following President Donald Trump’s signing of the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.
The commander’s 26-year career included assignments in space, missile, fighter and mobility units, his bio states.
Col. Sam Johnson, 21st Space Wing vice commander, will take over Falzarano’s duties.
“Col. Falzarano was a fearless leader who was motivated by taking care of his family and Airmen,” said Johnson. “He will be sorely missed.”
— Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.
© Copyright 2020 Military.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.