By Fred Woods
When does a father salute his son? Obviously, when the son outranks the father. Col. Wallace J. Paschal II, OHS class of 1973, and son of Command Sergeant-Major (ret.)Wallace J. Paschal and Lorene Paschal, long-time residents of Opelika, recently retired from the Federal Aeronautics Administration (FAA) and the Florida Air National Guard.
Col. Paschal’s most recent Air National Guard assignment was Commander of the 202nd RED HORSE Squadron (RHS) of the Florida Air National Guard. RED HORSE is an acronym for Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Squadron Engineers. Its commanders tend to remain in command for long periods of time. RED HORSE is just over 30 years old and, during that time, has had just four commanders. Col.Paschal was number three, assuming command in 2003 and serving for 11 years, until 2014. Commander is a full-time 24-hour, seven-day job.
RHS designs and constructs projects from airstrips and airplane parking pads to hangars, control towers and maintenance buildings; operates and repairs heavy equipment; and provides logistical, personnel, administrative and food service support. In addition, since the unit is national guard, it provides both homeland defense and bad weather/hurricane recovery for state and local government under the command of the Adjutant General of Florida.
Col. Paschal, or Jack, as he is known (you don’t call a colonel “Junior”), graduated from Opelika High and Auburn University. In May, 1973, he joined the Alabama National Guard as a draftsman and three years later earned his commission in Combat Engineering for the Army. Jack completed over 20 years with Engineering, Artillery, Quartermaster and an Area Support Group in the Army National Guard before switching over to the Florida Air National Guard in 1993.
He served in operations and squadron headquarters and 10 years later became squadron commander, where he served eleven years before retiring from the Florida National Guard in 2014 with 41 years of service to his country. During Col. Paschal’s tenure as commander, the 202nd Red Horse Squadron deployed overseas three times for periods longer than 180 days and Col. Paschal himself had a number of other, shorter, overseas assignments.Thanks, Jack.
Col. (ret.) Jack Paschal and his wife, Elaine, now make their home in Fleming Island, Fla. They are the proud parents of two adult children and proud grandparents to Owen, age three, and Eli, age one.
And finally, yes, dear readers, there is a Slippery Rock! One of Jack’s sidelines is football officiating and, in 2000, he officiated in Florida Atlantic University’s inaugural football game, … against Slippery Rock University, of Slippery Rock, Penn.