Colonel Joseph H. Wenckus is the Vice Commander, 86th Airlift Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany. He leads a wing composed of seven groups and 31 squadrons across four bases in Germany, Spain, Belgium and Portugal. The wing's mission is to provide combat airlift and operate the Air Force's premier power projection platform. The 86th Airlift Wing conducts U.S. Air Forces in Europe's only airlift, airdrop and aeromedical evacuation flying operations, as well as providing rapid mobility and expeditionary combat support for military operations.
Colonel Wenckus received his commission in 1998 from the United States Air Force Academy after graduating with a Foreign Area Studies degree. His operational assignments include duty as a C-130 instructor pilot and flight examiner, Air Mobility Division Chief, and Contingency Response Element Commander. Colonel Wenckus is a command pilot with more than 2,700 flying hours in the T-37, TC-12, and C-130 E/H/J. He commanded the 21st Air Mobility Operations Squadron at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ, and has served in both flying and support roles in Operations JOINT GUARDIAN, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. Prior to his current assignment, Colonel Wenckus was the Chief of United States Central Command’s Current Operations Division.
1998 Bachelor of Science degree, Foreign Area Studies, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado
2004 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
2007 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama (Correspondence)
2008 Masters in Business Administration, TUI University, California
2010 Advanced Command and Staff Course, Joint Services Command and Staff College, Shrivenham, United Kingdom
2010 Masters of Arts in Defense Studies, King’s College London, Shrivenham, United Kingdom
2011 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama (Correspondence)
2015 Joint Advanced Warfighting School, Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia
2015 Masters of Science in Joint Campaign Planning and Strategy, National Defense University, Norfolk, Virginia
1. May 1998 – February 1999, Strategic Language Assistant, Dean of the Faculty, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado.
2. February 1999 – October 1999, student, Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, 41st Flying Training Squadron, Columbus AFB, Mississippi.
3. October 1999 – April 2000, student, Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Training Squadron Thirty-Five, Corpus Christi NAS, Texas.
4. November 2000 – October 2003, Mobility and Training Officer and C-130 Aircraft Commander, 37th Airlift Squadron, Ramstein AB, Germany.
5. October 2003 – June 2006, Flight Commander and Chief Pilot Evaluator, 50th Airlift Squadron, Little Rock AFB, Arkansas.
6. June 2006 – July 2009, Air Mobility Command PHOENIX MOBILITY Intern, Travis AFB, California.
7. July 2009 – July 2010, student, Advanced Command and Staff Course, Joint Services Command and Staff College, Shrivenham, United Kingdom.
8. July 2010 – April 2012, Director, Higher Air Warfare Course, Air Warfare Centre, Royal Air Force Cranwell, United Kingdom.
9. July 2012 – July 2014, Commander, 21st Air Mobility Operations Squadron, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.
10. July 2014 – June 2015, student, Joint Advanced Warfighting School, Joint Forces Staff College, National Defense University, Norfolk, Virginia.
11. June 2015 – June 2017, Chief, Central Gulf and Maritime Branch, Operations Plans Division, and
Chief, Current Operations Division,Operations Directorate, United States Central Command, MacDill AFB,
12. July 2017 – present, Vice Commander, 86th Airlift Wing, Ramstein AB, Germany.
Rating: Command Pilot
Flight Hours: More than 2,700
Aircraft: T-37B, TC-12B, and C-130E/H/J
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Superior Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with 2 oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with 4 oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal with 2 oak leaf clusters
Combat Readiness Medal with 2 oak leaf clusters
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Kosovo Campaign Medal with 1 bronze star
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with 1 bronze star
Iraq Campaign Medal with 1 bronze star
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant May 27, 1998
First Lieutenant May 27, 2000
Captain May 27, 2002
Major October 1, 2007
Lieutenant Colonel December 1, 2011
Colonel June 1, 2016
(Current as of September 2017)