Knoxville native to assume command of 134th Air Refueling Wing

  • Published
  • By 2nd. Lt. Jon LaDue
  • 134th Air Refueling Wing

MCGHEE-TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. – Knoxville-native Col. Martin L. Hartley will assume command of the Tennessee National Guard’s 134th Air Refueling Wing during an official change-of-command ceremony here Aug. 5.

Col. Thomas Cauthen, who has led the 134th ARW since 2011, will become director of staff-air at Tennessee’s Joint Forces Headquarters in Nashville making way for Hartley, who is currently serving as the Wing’s vice commander.

“My first exposure to the Air Force was through a family friend that was a pilot in the 134th when I was a teenager,” Hartley said. “To be given the opportunity 31 years later to serve in this capacity, alongside the greatest Airmen in the world, is both a privilege and an honor that I cannot describe. I’m grateful.”

Hartley, a graduate of Knoxville’s Doyle High School and subsequently the U.S. Air Force Academy, has served as vice commander since August of 2016. He has 27 years of service, including several pilot and command positions at the 134th since 1997. Hartley is a command pilot with more than 6,800 flying hours, including military and commercial airframes, and he has flown more than 60 combat missions in support of operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, Freedom Sentinel, and Inherent Resolve. Hartley holds a bachelor of science degree in engineering mechanics from the AF Academy and a master of business administration degree from Liberty University, Virginia.

Col. Bobby Underwood will replace Hartley in the vice commander position. Underwood, a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a bachelor of science degree in logistics, has served as commander of the 134th Operations Group since July 2014. Underwood is a command pilot

with over 5,300 flying hours.


Cauthen has served in several pilot and command positions with the unit since 1986, and he has led the unit through numerous inspections, deployments and stateside emergency response efforts garnering a pristine safety record and several unit and wing-level awards and achievements. Cauthen is a second generation Tennessee guardsmen, following his dad who joined the Tennessee air guard in 1958.

“Each of these individuals has a proven track record and demonstrated ability to perform in these new assignments,” said Col. Jason Glass, commander of the Tennessee Air National Guard, through an official e-mail announcement.

The mission of the 134th Air Refueling Wing is to project Global Reach and Global Power in the interest of National Defense by providing vital air refueling and critical airlift capabilities for rapid deployment, sustained combat operations and effective training. In 2017 the 134th ARW flew more than 1,000 sorties in support of contingency and training missions and deployed more than 430 Airmen in support of Operations Freedom Sentinel and Noble Eagle. The Wing also deployed personnel to Puerto Rico in support of Hurricane Maria relief efforts, and to Washington D.C. in support of the 2017 Presidential Inauguration. The Wing was recognized in February as the No. 1 of 17 tanker units flying the KC-135 in the Air National Guard.with over 5,300 flying hours.