FRANKFORT – Gov. Steve Beshear has 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 distinguished 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 process, according to a news release from Beshear's office.
“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.
“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 in the news release.
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 and several others.
Thompson succeeds Needham, whom Beshear appointed in 2008. Needham served as vice chairman of the BRAC task force and worked with local, state and federal officials to complete the project.
Beshear said Needham’s years of service to the Commonwealth 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.