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New vice commander joins Defense Sector

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --

Col. Robert Ezelle, director of operations at the Western Air Defense Sector for the past five years, is the Western Air Defense Sector's new vice commander.

The position became vacant in June when former vice commander, Col. Paul Gruver, took command of the Sector due to the retirement of former commander, Col. John Cromwell.

Colonel Ezelle came to WADS in March 1996 as director of the Sector's Exercise and Analysis Branch. Later he served as director of information operations, and then spent a year at Camp Murray, Wash., as chief of the Washington Air National Guard's Mission Development Team.

He came back to WADS in June 2000 as the assistant director of operations.

He stepped into the director of operations post in August 2001, just a month before events of Sept. 11, 2001 tested the systems, procedures and stamina of all three Sectors in the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Colonel Ezelle led the Sector's Operations Directorate through its many challenges, including major shifts in manning and equipment, over the next two years.