New Gunfighter commander named

Thursday, April 29, 2010
Col. Ronald D. Buckley

Col. Ronald D. Buckley will become the new commander of the 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home AFB on May 24 when the wing's flag will be formally passed from Col. John Bird II, the current wing commander.

Lt. Gen. Glenn F. Spears, 12th Air Force commander, will preside over the change of command ceremony that will begin at 9 a.m. on base.

Col. Buckley has been serving as the Operations Group commander at Randolph AFB, Texas. He is a command pilot with over 2,600 flight hours, primarily in fighter and trainer aircraft.

Col. Bird has been selected to serve on the Joint Staff in Washington, D.C., as the Chief of the Force Application Division at the Pentagon when he steps down as Gunfighter 1 (the call sign of the base commander). He has been commander of the Gunfighters at Mountain Home AFB since Feb. 11, 2009.

Col. Buckley currently is the commander of the 12th Operations Group, 12th Flying Training Wing, at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. He is responsible for directing AETC's Pilot Instructor Training, Combat Systems Officer Training, and the USAF Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals Instructor mission.

He supervises six flying training squadrons and an operations support squadron leading 349 flying instructors, 24 enlisted members, and more than 282 DoD civilians and contractors who collectively produce 1,126 graduates per year.

Col. Buckley grew up in Elk City, Okla. He is a 1989 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy with a degree in engineering mechanics. Following graduation from the Air Force Academy, he was awarded one of two national Guggenheim Fellowships to study at the Institute for Flight Structures at Columbia University in New York City. He holds three masters degrees and is also a graduate of the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB.

He holds a bachelors and masters degree in Engineering Mechanics, and masters degrees in Science in Stratigic Studies and Military Operational Art and Science.

He attended the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, Calif., in 2000.

A 1990 graduate of Columbia University, N.Y., he did his undergraduate pilot training at Vance AFB, Okla, attended pilot instructor training at Randolf AFB in 1991 and was subsequently assigned as a flight examiner, check pilot and instructor pilot at Vance AFB.

He then became the T-38 chief of standards and evaluation for the 71st Operations Group at Vance AFB. He followed that assignment as a class leader in the Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals course at Columbus AFB, Miss., and as the class leader in the F-15EB course for the 333rd Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.

In June 1997, he became the chief of mobility for the 335th Fighter Squadron at Seymour-Johnson AFB.

In June 1999, he was assigned to the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, Calif., and followed that as an F-16 test pilot and assistant operations officer for the 416 FLTS at Edwards AFB.

In June 2001, he attended the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Ala., and followed that assignment as F-15 PEM, Fighter Branch Chief, SAF/AQPB, HQ/USAF in the Pentagon.

From 2004-2006 he was the senior military aide to Vice President Dick Cheney.

In October 2006 he became the chief, Operations and Maintenance Branch, AETC IG, at Randolph AFB, and in July 2007 studied for a year at the Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Ala., before being assigned to his current duties as the commander, 12th Operations Group, at Randolph AFB.

He was promoted to colonel on Sept.1, 2007 .

He has flown the T-38, F-15E and F-16 (Block 10/15/30/40/50).

His major awards and decorations include: the Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster and the National Defense Service Medal with Service Star.

The Air Force no longer releases information on members families.

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  • I'm looking for an old "Gunfighter". Gunfighter-8, shot down south of Danang 14 Aug. 1968 and rescued same day by a valiant USMC HUEY pilot. I wonder if any of you younger gun fighters might be able to help.

    Mike Jeffries

    CAPT. USMC Ret.

    -- Posted by Mike Jeffries on Thu, Oct 11, 2012, at 11:32 AM
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