By Kevin Baird
CMI staff writer
Brig. Gen. Albert “Buck” Elton said he knew early in life what he wanted to do.
As a child, Elton told an audience gathered Tuesday at the Landing for his promotion ceremony, he was riding horses with his mother in the Sierra Mountains when a low-flying Navy jet zoomed by and he was able to see the pilot eye to eye. He turned to his mother and said, “Hey mom, I want to do that.”
A military career was born that eventually landed him at Cannon Air Force Base as the commander of the 27th Special Operations Wing since 2011.
Elton, who was born in Fort Rucker, Ala., and grew up in northern California, was promoted from colonel to brigadier general, replacing the bird on his lapel with a star.
“He has led from the front at every possible step,” said Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), who pinned Elton with his star.
Fiel said Elton has flown missions in Bosnia, Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan, and a humanitarian mission to Haiti in response to the 2010 earthquake. Elton has logged more than 4,300 hours of flight, and he has earned 16 major awards, including the Bronze Star and the Air Medal, according to his Air Force biography.
Elton thanked his family for their support, including his wife, “Karen is the love of my life,” he said, “and she is an incredible asset to the Air Force.” He also said he was honored to be able to “continue to serve this command (AFSOC).”
Elton also spoke highly of his father, who served as a helicopter pilot in the Army, recounting the lessons he had learned that he has applied to life and to his career.
Elton graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1989 and was subsequently commissioned a second lieutenant.
He will leave Cannon later his month for a new assignment at Hurlburt Field, Fla.
Elton will be replaced by Col. Tony Bauernfeind as the new wing commander at Cannon.