New Commanders at EADS and the 224th ADG
By Tim Jones, 224th ADG
/ Published June 03, 2016
Rome, NY -- Col. Emil J. Filkorn became the commander of the Eastern Air Defense Sector today during a ceremony at the Air Force Research Laboratory.
Filkorn received command before a crowd of 150 family, friends and fellow Air National Guard members. The ceremony was presided over by Lt. Gen. William H. Etter, Commander of Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Region (CONR) - 1st Air Force (Air Forces Northern).
Col. John M. Balbierer formally became the commander of the 224th Air Defense Group, New York Air National Guard, during the same ceremony. Balbierer took command from Filkorn, who had served as the 224th ADG commander since January. The 224th ADG change of command was presided over by Maj. Gen. Anthony P. German, the Adjutant General of New York.
"It's an honor to command a unit that plays such an important role in the daily defense of more than 180 million Americans and I am humbled by the responsibility," Filkorn said. "EADS is known for its operational excellence and I look forward to working with our outstanding Airmen and officers to meet the challenges that lay ahead."
A NORAD sector headquarters, EADS is manned by New York Air National Guardsmen, a Canadian Forces detachment, liaison officers from the U.S. Army, Navy and Coast Guard, and 40 federal civilian employees. Responsible for the air defense of 1 million square miles east of the Mississippi River, the unit reports to the Continental U.S. NORAD headquarters, which is located at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.
Filkorn replaces Col. Michael J. Norton. Norton is transferring to Washington, D.C., where he will serve as the CONR-1st Air Force liaison officer in the National Capital Region.
A Hamburg, New York native, Filkorn graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy in 1990 with an aeronautical engineering degree. A scholarship cadet in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, Filkorn was commissioned in May 1990 and entered the Air Force in April 1991. After completing Air Battle Manager training in Tyndall Air Force Base in August 1991, he was assigned to the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) at Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome. In 1995, NEADS transitioned from the active-duty Air Force to the New York Air National Guard and Filkorn became a full-time Air National Guard officer.
Filkorn has extensive operational experience. Prior to taking command at EADS, he served as Commander of the 224th Air Defense Group, the New York Air National Guard unit that provides the forces to conduct EADS air defense mission. Filkorn has also served as Commander, 224th Support Squadron, and as Assistant Deputy Commander, Chief of Operations Control, and Flight Commander in EADS Operations Directorate.
Other assignments include serving as a Special Assistant for Air Forces Northern Operations Directorate and Joint Mission Commander for an Air Force-Navy contingent that worked with the U.S. Secret Service to support Presidential travel. Filkorn also served as Senior Director and Air Surveillance Officer for 1st Air Force's Cruise Missile Defense Initiative that examined air defense technologies in the late 1990s and 2000.
Filkorn has deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Southern Watch, to Panama and Bahamas for counterdrug operations, and to Colombia to support air operations.
A graduate of Air War College and Air Command and Staff College, Filkorn's awards include three Meritorious Service Medals, the Global War on Terrorism Medal and the Southwest Asia Service Medal.
Filkorn and his wife Kitty live in Cazenovia. They have two children, Maddie and Jack.
Balbierer, a senior maintenance officer, had served as the commander of the 224th Support Squadron at EADS since January. Prior to that post, Balbierer was the Vice Wing Commander at the 174th Attack Wing in Syracuse from 2012 to 2016.
A graduate of Columbia College, Balbierer was commissioned through the Air National Guard's Academy of Military Science in 1990. He is a graduate of Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College, and Air War College.
Balbierer has served in the Air National Guard for 34 years and has made numerous deployments to Southwest Asia. These deployments include Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
A native of Fairport, New York, Balbierer and his wife Karen live in Seneca Falls.