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USAFA Prep School gets new commander June 8

Col. Timothy Thurston

Col. Timothy Thurston, commander of the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School, speaks June 8, 2018, during the Prep School change-of-command ceremony. Thurston takes over command from Col. Jaqueline Breeden.  (Photo by Darcie Ibidapo)

Story by Ray Bowden/June 11, 2018

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — The Air Force Academy Preparatory school has a new commander: Col. Timothy Thurston.

He’s a 1995 Academy graduate and master navigator with more than 2,500 hours of flight time.

During the change-of-command ceremony June 8 at Black Field on the Prep School campus, Thurston said he’ll concentrate on honor and the Air Force core values: integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do.

“These are essential principles that define the profession of arms,” he said.

Thurston left the Academy with a bachelors in political science to become a C-130 navigator. Later, he became an instructor navigator and an evaluator navigator.

Before commanding the Prep School, he led the Air Force Honor Guard at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington. Prior to that, Thurston commanded the 322nd Training Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, where he directed the training of roughly 10,000 Air Force recruits.

Thurston said his leadership approach is based on family.

“I do my job for my family — my real family and my Air Force family,” he said

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, Academy superintendent, presided over the change of command. Among Thurston’s achievements, Silveria said, was improving the culture and climate during Basic Military Training.

“I’m pleased to welcome another outstanding Air Force leader to the Preparatory School commander’s position,” he said.

Thurston arrives at the Academy with his wife Hurley, daughter Mya, and sons Cole and Max.

The previous Prep School commander, Col. Jacqueline Breeden, is scheduled to take command of the 305th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

Breeden said she looks forward to her new assignment but not to leaving the Academy.

“It’s a beautifully sad day for me and my family,” she said.

This year, under her command, the Prep School graduated the highest number of cadet candidates in 15 years.