Former Air Force commander passes away from ALS

CHARLESTON, SC - CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A former Air Force commander passed away on Saturday after a seven-year battle with ALS.

Brig. Gen. Thomas R. Mikolajcik died at his Mt. Pleasant home at the age of 63 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Mikolajcik served 27 years in the Air Force before retiring in 1996. During his service, he served many positions, including instructor pilot, aircraft commander, war plans officer and many more.

While serving as the 437th Airlift Wing Commander, he was the component commander in Somalia from December 1991 to March 1993 during Operation Restore Hope. Mikolajcik also helped activate the first squadron of C-17s in 1993.

To Col. Martha Meeker, commander of Joint Base Charleston, Mikolajcik was the definition of leadership.

"Throughout his life in the Air Force and in the community, he was a leader who others looked up to and the strength and courage he showed at the end of his life deeply touched everyone around him," Col. Meeker said.

His funeral is scheduled for Saturday, April 24 at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Mt. Pleasant.

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