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3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at El Toro Has New Leader : Military: Maj. Gen. Harold Blot praised the unit during a ceremony in which he handed over the command to Maj. Gen. Paul A. Fratarangelo.


EL TORO — After a two-year command of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, Maj. Gen. Harold Blot turned over the leadership of his 14,000 Marines in a ceremony witnessed by 500 people Friday.

Blot gave the command to Maj. Gen. Paul A. Fratarangelo, who comes to El Toro from Camp Pendleton, where he was deputy commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

Blot, 54, praised the 3rd Wing, which includes personnel in Tustin, Camp Pendleton and Yuma, Ariz., for its performance in the Somalia famine relief effort, called Operation Restore Hope, and for enduring an era of military cutbacks.

"This is an emotional time," he told the troops. "You have earned my undying admiration and respect for what you've done."

Blot is being transferred to Washington, where he will serve as assistant deputy chief of staff for aviation.

His tenure was praised in a letter from Marine Corps Commandant Carl Mundy Jr., who said Blot "led the 3rd Wing during turbulent times" and that he was "a key to Operation Restore Hope and other critical operations."

Blot was named to head the 3rd Wing in August, 1991. He was commanding general of the 5th Marine Expeditionary Force during Operation Desert Storm.

Fratarangelo was the deputy commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force for nearly a year before his assignment to the 3rd Wing. He was promoted to his current rank in May, and served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War.

General Information

Maj. Gen. Paul A. Fratarangelo replaces Maj. Gen. Harold Blot as commander of the El Toro 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. A profile:

Name: Paul A. Fratarangelo

Marital status: Married with two daughters

Education: BS in business from Niagara University in 1964, master of business administration from National University in 1977, master of arts from Salve Regina College in 1984.

Recent assignments: Assumed command of Marine Air Group 41, Detachment A, Andrews Air Force Base from July, 1984, to May, 1986. Returned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station for duty as assistant chief of staff, from June, 1986, to May, 1988, when he assumed command of Marine Air Group, 11. He was promoted to brigadier general in May, 1990, and assigned duty as the commander, Forward Headquarters Element/Inspector General for the U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base on June 1, 1990. Served as deputy commanding general, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force Camp Pendleton from Aug. 1, 1992.

Source: El Toro Marine Corps Air Station

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