The Air National Guard Assistant to the Commander of Barksdale AFB's Air Force Global Strike Command has been promoted to Major General (two-star) in the New York Air National Guard.

Thomas J. Owens received the new rank during promotion ceremonies held at New York National Guard Headquarters in Latham, N.Y. on Saturday, June 1.

Owens, who currently serves as the Air National Guard Assistant to the Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, has served in the Air Force and the Air National Guard since 1985.

"Tom now serves on active duty at Global Strike Command, a two-star billet with tremendous responsibility," said Maj. Gen. Ray Shields, the Adjutant General for New York. "That also requires a lot of sacrifice."

Global Strike Command is responsible for the Air Forces nuclear B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers and Minuteman III missiles.

Owens expressed how glad he was to be back among his National Guard family for the promotion ceremony.

"It is neat to come back to family and friends here at the Joint Force Headquarters," Owens said. "Why do we do what we do? Family and friends."

"To my joint battle buddies, members of Joint Task Force Long Island, thank you for your terrific efforts."

"Major General Shields, thanks for your confidence in me," Owens said. "It is a tremendous honor to continue to serve in this capacity."

Owens received his commission in 1985 as a Distinguished Graduate of the Air National Guard Academy of Military Science, Knoxville, Tenn. After completion of pilot training, he served in numerous operational assignments flying the A-10, F-16, HC-130 and HH-60G in the New York Air National Guard.

Owens has flown in operations Desert Shield/Storm, Provide Comfort, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Noble Eagle, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Owens is a command pilot with more than 3,900 flying hours, including more than 450 combat hours during 120 F-16 combat sorties over Southwest Asia.

He commanded the 174th Fighter Wing's 138th Fighter Squadron at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, and served as the commander of the 106th Rescue Wing at Gabreski Air National Guard Base at Westhampton Beach on Long Island from 2009 to 2016.

He has also served as the Assistant Adjutant General for Air for New York National Guard and as Mobilization Assistant to North American Aerospace Defense Command Director of Operations.

His commands include the 138th Fighter Squadron, 174th Operations Group and the 106th Rescue Wing. Prior to his current assignment, he served as the Assistant Adjutant General for Air, New York National Guard. He was promoted to brigadier general in 2016.

Owens holds a bachelor of science and a master's degree in electrical engineering from Cornell University and was a National Security Fellow at Harvard University. He also holds a masters of business administration from Cornell University.

He is a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College and the Air War College, as well as the Joint Task Force Commanders Course and the Joint Forces Staff College.

His awards include Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal , the Air Medal, the Aerial Achievement Medal , the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal , the Afghanistan Campaign Medal , the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon , the Kuwait Liberation Medal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kuwait Liberation Medal Government of Kuwait.

He and his wife Karen have two sons: 1st Lt. Thomas Owens III, a member of the New York Air National Guard's 174th Attack Wing, and Riley Owens.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin German. Story courtesy of New York National Guard.