FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 24, 2012) – Gov. Steve Beshear today appointed retired Col. David E. Thompson as executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs, replacing retired Col. Mark Needham, who recently left the post for the private sector.
Thompson’s military career includes his recent command of the 194th Armored Brigade at Fort Knox, a position he held for two years until he retired from active duty in 2011. At Fort Knox, he was responsible for the initial military training of more than 25,000 personnel, as well as the movement of the brigade to Fort Benning, Ga., as part of the Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.
“Col. Thompson’s experience and professionalism will help guide this office and help advise me on the important military issues facing Kentucky,” Beshear said. “His decorated military service and his involvement with BRAC are all critical components that will serve him well in this position.”
Thompson, whose career began with enlistment in the Army National Guard in 1983, will also serve as special assistant to the governor on BRAC.
[pullquote_left]“Col. Needham oversaw our office of military affairs at a very critical time for Kentucky. His hard work and leadership helped us navigate the work with the Base Realignment and Closure project more easily, as well as numerous other military projects and issues.” — Gov. Steve Beshear[/pullquote_left]
“I am honored to serve on the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs. It is a great privilege to be selected by Gov. Beshear, and I look forward to being a part of his team,” Thompson said. “We will continue building on the success the commission has had over the past four years under the leadership of Mark Needham. Mark and the entire KCMA team, along with all the involved communities — civilian and military leaders and organizations, soldiers, veterans and families — achieved remarkable results that will positively impact the region for many years to come. I am grateful for the opportunity to lead the commission into the future. I look forward to the opportunities ahead that will strengthen our ties to the military and contribute to our economic growth.”
Thompson holds a master’s degree in administration from Central Michigan University. His military awards include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster; the Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster; the Meritorious Service Medal with seven oak leaf clusters; the Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters and the Joint Service Achievement Medal. Thompson is also authorized to wear the Combat Action Badge, the Ranger Tab and Airborne Badge.
Needham, whom Beshear appointed in 2008, served as vice chairman of the BRAC task force and worked with local, state and federal officials to complete the project.
“Col. Dave Thompson is perfect for the job,” Needham said. “He had a very significant role in BRAC at Fort Knox and understands the process well. I am so pleased the governor has selected Dave for this important position.”
Beshear said Needham’s years of service to the state will have lasting effects, especially the key role he played in the success of BRAC and the changes at Fort Knox that impacted the state and the local communities.
“Col. Needham oversaw our office of military affairs at a very critical time for Kentucky,” the governor said. “His hard work and leadership helped us navigate the work with the Base Realignment and Closure project more easily, as well as numerous other military projects and issues.”