Head of isle Air Guard promoted
Darryll Wong will be the first two-star general to exclusively command the outfit
Brig. Gen. Darryll D.M. Wong will become on Monday the first two-star commander of the 2,500-member Hawaii Air National Guard.
Wong, who joined the Hawaii Air National Guard in 1984 after serving in the active Air Force for 12 years, received his first star as a brigadier general two years ago when he was appointed as head of the Hawaii Air National Guard.
Although several two-star Hawaii Air Guard generals have led both the Army and Air National Guard in the islands as state adjutant general, there has never been a two-star general heading just the Air Guard. The current two-star adjutant general is Maj. Gen. Bob Lee.
Wong, a 1968 Maryknoll High School graduate, said one of the continuing challenges facing the Hawaii Air National Guard is the integration between the active components of the Air Force and the citizen force.
The Hawaii Air National Guard will make history early next year when it teams up with the Air Force with the formation of the eight-aircraft C-17 Globemaster jet cargo squadron.
"I don't think this will be a difficult challenge," said Wong, 55.
This is because for nearly a decade the Air Guard has been part of the Air Force Expeditionary Force rotations, where all members of the Hawaii unit know that during a 15-month cycle that they can be mobilized and sent overseas for up to 120 days.
Hawaii Air Guard pilots, air crews, combat communications specialists, air traffic controllers and security force personnel have been deployed to Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Diego Garcia and other areas in Southwest Asia.
"We are consistently doing these things, so it's not new," Wong said.
After graduating from the University of Hawaii in 1972, Wong flew C-141s at the end of the Vietnam War and was a crew member during the Vietnamese refugee airlift with the 53rd Military Airlift Squadron.
In his civilian job, Wong is a captain with Aloha Airlines with more than 15,000 hours of flight time in the cockpit of a Boeing 737 jet since he joined the company in 1976.
In 1975, Wong was a member of the all-Air Force volleyball and armed forces all-star volleyball teams.
After joining the Hawaii Air Guard in 1984, Wong oversaw the operations of its F-4 Phantom squadron and conversion of the unit to F-15E Eagle combat jets.
In 1993 he transferred to the newly formed 203rd Air Refueling Squadron as a pilot flying KC-135 Stratotankers, and later served as the unit's director of operations.
From May 1999 to July 2001, Wong was director of the Hawaii Air Guard's operations and was the project officer responsible for developing the unit's role in the acquisition of the new C-17 squadron, which will be made up of both Air Guard and active Air Force personnel. The first C-17 will arrive at Hickam in February.