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COLONEL NIKHIL S. PATEL

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Colonel Nikhil S. Patel is vice commander of the 433rd Airlift Wing, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. He assists the commander in directing the operations and activities of approximately 2,500 people assigned to the wing headquarters and 21 subordinate units. The wing provides mission-ready Airmen in agile combat support and medical specialties to fulfill expeditionary joint war-fighting requirements. The Alamo Wing is also the home of the Formal Training Unit for all C-5M Super Galaxy aircrew training.

Col. Patel was commissioned in 1991 as a Distinguished Graduate through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of California, Los Angeles, California. He has held numerous operational and leadership positions while serving nine years on active duty and 17 years in the reserve as a traditional reservist and individual mobilization augmentee. On active duty, Col. Patel served as a flight test engineer and C-5 pilot. In the reserve, he has served as a flight test safety officer, executive officer, group deputy commander and commander. Additionally, he has served as a battle watch captain, chief of air operations and operations officer at the headquarters of a combatant command, and an air operations center vice commander at the headquarters of a warfighting command.

Prior to his current assignment, Col. Patel served at Headquarters United States European Command, Patch Barracks, Germany, as a Battle Watch Captain in the Joint Operations Center. In his civilian capacity, he has been a pilot at two leading aircraft manufacturing companies and is currently a pilot for a major airline.

EDUCATION
1990 Bachelor of Science degree, Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, California
1992 Master of Science degree, Mechanical Engineering, UCLA, California
1995 Squadron Officer School, in residence, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama
2006 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, by correspondence
2013 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, by correspondence
2015 Reserve Component National Security Course, Washington, D.C.
2017 Naval Strategy & War, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island
2019 NATO Senior Officer Policy Course, NATO School, Oberammergau, Germany

ASSIGNMENTS
1. January 1992–January 1993, Student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Williams AFB, Arizona
2. February 1993–February 1996, Flight Test Engineer, U-2 Flight Test, Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale, California
3. February 1996–November 1998, C-5 Pilot, 21st Airlift Squadron, Travis AFB, California (November 1998, mobilized as Stage Manager, Doha, Qatar)
4. December 1998–January 2001, C-5 Aircraft Commander and Assistant Chief, Mission Control, 21st AS, Travis AFB, California (July 1999-October 1999, Chief Airlift Planner, Airlift Coordination Cell, Operations Directorate (J3), Joint Task Force – Southwest Asia, Eskan Village, Saudi Arabia; August 2000–September 2000, mobilized as Stage Manager, Moron Air Base, Spain)
5. December 2002–May 2004, Executive Officer, 446th Mission Support Group, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
6. June 2004–July 2006, Individual Mobilization Augmentee, Training and Safety Officer, U-2 Flight Test, Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale, California
7. July 2006–December 2010, Executive Officer, 446th MSG, JBLM, Washington
8. December 2010–March 2013, Deputy Commander, 446th MSG, JBLM, Washington
9. April 2013–September 2013, Chief of Air Operations, and Operations Officer, Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications, Operations Directorate (J3), Headquarters European Command, Stuttgart Germany
10. October 2013–April 2017, Deputy Commander, 446th MSG, JBLM, Washington
11. May 2017–September 2017, Commander, 446th MSG, JBLM, Washington
12. September 2017–December 2019, Battle Watch Captain, Operations Directorate (J3), Headquarters US European Command, Patch Barracks, Germany
13. September 2018–November 2019, Vice Commander, 603rd Air Operations Center, Operations Directorate (A3), United States Air Forces Europe Command, Ramstein Air Base, Germany (MPA Tour)
14. December 2019-Present, Vice Commander, 433rd Airlift Wing, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas

SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. July 1999-October 1999, Chief Airlift Planner, Airlift Coordination Cell, Operations Directorate (J3), Joint Task Force – Southwest Asia, Eskan Village, Saudi Arabia, as a captain
2. April 2013–September 2013, Chief, Air Operations, and Operations Officer, Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications, Operations Directorate (J3), Headquarters US European Command, Stuttgart Germany, as a lieutenant colonel
3. September 2017–December 2019, Battle Watch Captain, Operations Directorate (J3), Headquarters US European Command, Patch Barracks, Germany, as a colonel

FLIGHT INFORMATION
Rating: Senior pilot
Flight hours: more than 2,600
Aircraft flown: C-5

MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal

EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant July 20, 1991
First Lieutenant July 20, 1993
Captain July 20, 1995
Major June 26, 2004
Lieutenant Colonel Aug. 20, 2010
Colonel March 1, 2017

(Current as of February 2020)