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"Father" of 310th Space Wing dies at 65

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. --

More than 20 Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 310th Space Wing volunteered to stand in formation during retired Maj. Gen. Frank Casserino’s funeral to honor his legacy at the U.S. Air Force Academy Cemetery, January 15.

Casserino was the driving force behind the efforts that brought the 310th Space Wing – the only space wing in the Air Force Reserve, into existence.

“He was a lion in the space community and trailblazer for the 310th Space Wing,” said Col. Shariful Khan, the 310th Space Wing commander. “General Casserino was a friend and mentor to many in our community, as well as a loving husband and father. His inspirational leadership led to a long list of ‘firsts’ for space operations. He paved the way for the new U.S. Space Force and is the reason we exist as a space wing today. He will be greatly missed by all.”

Casserino was tasked to launch the space unit program for the Air Force Reserve in 1993 while serving as the 7th Space Operations Squadron commander, which fell under the 302nd Operations Group at the time. In 1997, he stood up the 310th Space Group and served as its commander until 2008.

His credo, “Family of Professionals,” is still written above the commander’s seat in the 310th SW headquarters conference room. He retired in 2012 as the mobilization assistant to the commander of Air Force Space Command.

Casserino graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1977 and became a member of the Astronaut Program where he was selected to be the prime payload specialist for the space shuttle flight in 1986. He died January 4 in his home at age 65.