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Col. David DeNofrio retirement
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. - Col. David DeNofrio accepts a flag from Staff Sgt. Lori Jones, Patriot Honor Guard cadre, during his retirement ceremony May 27. The colonel, who will be retiring from the Air Force July 1 with more than 25 years of service, was commander of the 950th Electronic Systems Group until June 1. The flag was flown at places significant to the colonel, including the U.S. Capitol, Norwich University and in a B-1 test sortie. (Photo by Linda LaBonte Britt)
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Retiring group commander emphasizes mission always, people first

Posted 6/11/2010   Updated 6/11/2010 Email story   Print story


by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

6/11/2010 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass.  -- As Col. David DeNofrio prepares to retire from the Air Force July 1 with more than 25 years of service, he said no matter what he does in the future it's going to be tough to match what he considers "the best job he ever had" - being the commander of the 950th Electronic Systems Group.

He served in that assignment from June 27, 2007, until he started terminal leave June 1.

Although he came to Hanscom on a humanitarian assignment in 2005 to deal with some family issues, Colonel DeNofrio said not only did he need to be here to deal with those issues, but this is where he wanted to be assigned and was thankful it worked out.

"I started here when ESC re-organized to squadrons, groups and wings, a great thing for our command, mission and people -- it put the 'Air Force' in AFMC -- and ended up being the first squadron commander for the Special Programs Systems Squadron, what is now the 630th ELSS in this group," he said. "After going off and doing some other things, I came back to be the group commander for the 950th, which was really very special."

The colonel had worked with the group for many years while he was working special access required programs at Eglin AFB, Fla., Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, and Edwards AFB, Calif. He said because of those previous relationships, he knew what a great organization he was coming to.

"When I first took command of the 950th, I pledged to do my very best, lead the unit with respect, to display unit pride and to take care of the people, so I'm hoping I met or exceeded the unit's expectations," said Colonel DeNofrio. "I hope I did a good job taking care of the people, the organization, the 950th in any way I could."

He said without question the mission is extremely important and will always be there, but you can't execute the mission without the people.

"We need to take care of people better," he said. "In the future, I hope that leaders in the Air Force will focus more on this."

He said an accomplishment he is especially proud of is the fact that the 950th ELSG has won the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the past three years.

"The people in the 950th do great things; their contributions to the Air Force are truly outstanding," he said. "I'm pleased to be a part of this great team that does so much for our warfighters."

Colonel DeNofrio entered the military with an Air Force ROTC scholarship to Norwich University, the nation's oldest military college, located in Northfield, Vt. He was a distinguished graduate and received a regular commission and graduated with an engineering degree and with honors.

"It was a good match," he said, "and it set me on my way. I received an excellent education there; I learned about true leadership, had great professors and mentors who focused me on the Air Force and it just worked out well."

Going back to Norwich to teach is one possibility the colonel is thinking about for the future. "I'd love to give back to Norwich," he said.

However, his preference at this time would be to do something in a similar capacity to what he did in his role for the 950th ELSG, although not wearing a uniform.

"I really like the mission area and love the people, "he said. "I'm exploring all options, though I would like to stay in the local area."

He said one thing he will miss about the Air Force and especially the 950th is the camaraderie that is found here.

"That's what my friends who were formerly in the military miss the most," he said. "The traditions, the culture, the heritage--that doesn't exist outside the gates. I love that and it's all I know."

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