Maj. Gen. Edward W. Thomas Jr. took the reins of Air Force Recruiting Service June 11 in a ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph officiated by Lt. Gen. Marshall “Brad” Webb, the commander of Air Education and Training Command. Thomas is replacing Maj. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt.
Thomas joins AFRS from his previous assignment as director of Public Affairs, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, the Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia. He was commissioned in 1990 following his graduation from Texas A&M University.
“It is an honor to be joining our Air Force’s and now Space Force’s incredibly talented recruiting team,” Thomas said. “I cannot tell you how humbled I am. I am truly grateful for the privilege to serve and now lead this command. I am truly honored to follow General Leavitt into this command. It’s clear that you have led an extraordinary team here that has absolutely thrived for the past two years.”
When speaking of Thomas’s experience, Webb spoke about the credentials he brings to AFRS.
“He’s led the strategic communications, frankly, for every event the last 30 years or so it seems,” Webb said. “For all you AFRS folks that are tuned in, you are getting a phenomenal commander. He’s ready to lead, innovate and succeed as a team.”
Other staff assignments Thomas had include serving as the special assistant for Public Affairs to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, director of Public Affairs for U.S. European Command and director of Public Affairs for Pacific Air Forces. In addition to advising the secretary and chief of staff of the Air Force on public affairs matters, he was responsible for developing and executing global communication processes to build understanding and support for the Air Force.
Leavitt, who commanded AFRS since June 2018, will take a director position at AETC. One of her noted accomplishments was the transformation of AFRS into a total force recruiting enterprise to recruit the nation’s best talent. In addition to recruiting for the regular Air Force, the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard, total force recruiting also encompasses the Air Force Academy admissions, Air Force Civilian Service and Air Force ROTC. The mission of AFRS is to inspire, engage and recruit the next generation of Airmen and Space Professionals.
“I know you will lead AFRS to new heights,” Leavitt said to Thomas at the change of command ceremony.
“To the men and women of AFRS, thank you for your hard work and dedication over these past two years,” she continued. “Thank you for welcoming me onto your team. It’s been my honor to serve as your commander.”