Monday, July 16, 2007

Welcome Neighbor

What's wrong with this picture?

This is U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Kingsley.

He is the son in law of my friends, Ken and Mariette Coolidge, of Camarillo, Calif. Coolidge was a Lt. Col assigned to Kirtland Air Force Base in the early ’80s and had joined the Albuquerque Police Department as a volunteer reserve officer. He rode with me just about every weekend for several years. He had a distinguished career as a navigator and later became Air Police Chief and an administrator.

Coolidge, seen here with grandson, Harris, taught me to fly airplanes. He would later retire, became a regional manager for California Plant Protections security firm and moved to Calif. CPP bought out Pinkerton and formed the largest security company in the country. He became a vice president and retired for a second time. He now is a flight instructor, specializing in teaching airplane instrument ratings.

The Coolidges’ daughter, Sharon, left, is a graduate of Del Norte High School and the University of New Mexico. She married Kingsley, who was a young Air Force combat rescue helicopter pilot.

At the beginning of Operation Desert Storm — Task Force Normandy, Kingsley flew a MH-53 PAVE LOW helicopter escorting Army AH-64 Apaches attacking an early warning radar outpost in Iraq in the first mission of the war in Jan. 1991.

Kingsley, most recently, was the assistant deputy director for special operations in the operations directorate for the joint chiefs’ of staff at the Pentagon. His main duties included conducting weekly briefings to the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff on all military special operations.

This week, he arrived at Kirtland and in a change of command ceremony, conducted by Inspector General of the Air Force Lt. Gen Ronald Sams, left. Kingsley is the new commander of the Air Force Inspection Agency, replacing retiring Col. Thomas Berardinelli, right.

The Kingsley’s have three children: a daughter Maggie, 19, who is attending the University of Florida in Tallahassee; Alex, 16, is a senior who will attend Highland High School and also take courses at UNM; and Harris, 11, will attend Sandia Preparatory school.

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