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Bishop Takes Command at the Eastern Air Defense Sector

EADS Change of Command

Col. Paul M. Bishop, right, saluted Lt. Gen. Marc H. Sasseville, the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Region (CONR)-1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern) Commander, during the guidon exchange at the Eastern Air Defense Sector’s virtual change of command ceremony on May 21. Due to COVID-19 health restrictions, Lt. Gen. Sasseville presided over the ceremony, which was held in Rome, New York, via video teleconference from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. The ceremony was videotaped and released on May 28, Bishop’s first official day as Commander. In the center, with the guidon, is Chief Master Sgt. Tammy Weber, 224th Air Defense Group Senior Enlisted Leader. Col. Emil Filkorn, EADS outgoing Commander, is on the left.

Lt. Gen. Mark H. Sasseville official photo

Lt. Gen. Mark H. Sasseville official photo

Rome, N.Y. --

Col. Paul M. Bishop is officially the commander of the Eastern Air Defense Sector.

Bishop took command in a virtual ceremony, which was filmed earlier and distributed to EADS Airmen on Thursday through the facility’s internal network. The telecast allowed members to witness the change of command, which is traditionally conducted in front of the entire unit.

Lt. Gen Marc H. Sasseville, Commander of the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Region (CONR)-1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern), was the presiding officer for the ceremony. Sasseville participated from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida via video teleconference.

Bishop replaced Col. Emil J. Filkorn. Filkorn is transferring to Headquarters Air Force in Washington, D.C., where he will serve as the 1st Air Force representative on the staff of the Chief Architect, Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS).

“The Eastern Air Defense Sector is an absolutely critical component of NORAD’s ability to execute its mission of aerospace warning and control. That is why it is vital to ensure that EADS is well trained, equipped and led,” Sasseville said. “I’m proud of Col. Filkorn, his leadership, and where he has taken the men and women of the great state of New York who are the Sector. Undoubtedly, Col. Bishop will continue this tradition of excellence and raise the bar once again.”

 “EADS defends more than 180 million Americans all day, every day, and it is an honor to become the Commander,” Bishop said. “I am profoundly grateful for this opportunity and look forward to working with our outstanding Airmen to overcome the difficult challenges we currently face.”

A life-long resident of nearby Oriskany, Bishop has a lengthy association with the former Griffiss Air Force Base, now the Griffiss Business and Technology Park, where EADS is located.

The son of an active-duty Airman stationed at Griffiss in the 1970s, Bishop’s mother also worked on the base. The new Commander’s first job as a teenager was bagging groceries at the Griffiss commissary and he has served at EADS for the past 26 years.

Bishop takes command during a time of unprecedented challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the unit to take stringent steps to protect the health of its operational workforce. All non-essential military and civilian personnel currently telework, masks are mandatory throughout the facility, and no visitors are allowed.

Bishop is a 1989 U.S. Air Force basic training graduate with more than 30 years’ experience in the Air National Guard. His first assignment was at the 174th Fighter Wing in Syracuse, where he was an F-16 avionics maintenance specialist. In 1991, he deployed with the 174th to Al Kharj Air Base, Saudi Arabia, for Operation Desert Storm.

In 1993, Bishop transferred to the 113th Air Control Squadron (ACS) in Syracuse and subsequently received his commission through the Academy of Military Science at McGhee-Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee. He then completed Weapons Director training at Tyndall AFB.

In 1994, Bishop moved to Rome when the 113th ACS assumed the NORAD mission at the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS).

During the past 26 years, Bishop has worked more than 31,000 mission crew hours and held several leadership positions. He holds numerous Air Battle Management qualifications including Battle Commander, Mission Crew Commander, Weapons Director, Weapons Director Technician, Weapons Assignment Officer and Senior Director.

Bishop has played a key role in several critical projects during his time at EADS. He helped plan and implement NEADS transition into the Eastern Air Defense Sector, a change that more than doubled the unit’s geographic area of responsibility. Bishop planned and executed the first-ever live-fly exercise in the Washington, D.C. area that integrated NORAD fighter planes with U.S. Army ground-based air defense assets, and supervised an analysis project that devised a new work schedule to reduce crew fatigue.

Prior to taking command of EADS, Bishop was the 224th Air Defense Group Commander. He has also served as the 224th Support Squadron Commander, 224th Air Defense Squadron Operations Director, Flight Commander, Assistant Flight Commander and Weapons Section Officer-in-Charge during his time at EADS.

A 1998 graduate of Columbia College, Bishop has completed the Squadron Officers Course at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, the Air Command and Staff College, and Air War College.

Bishop and his wife Leah live in Oriskany. They have two daughters, Carissa and Regan.

A North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) sector headquarters, EADS is manned by New York Air National Guardsmen from the 224th Air Defense Group, a Canadian Forces detachment, liaison officers from the U.S. Army and Navy, and approximately 50 federal civilian employees and contractors. Responsible for the air defense of 1 million square miles east of the Mississippi River, the unit reports to CONR-1st Air Force, headquartered at Tyndall AFB, Florida. CONR-1st Air Force reports to NORAD headquarters at Peterson AFB, Colorado.