Colonel John F. Gonzales is Commander, 51st Fighter Wing, Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. As commander, he is responsible for ensuring the wing is ready to defend Osan Air Base, execute combat operations, and sustain follow-on forces. He is entrusted with the operational readiness, training, morale, welfare, installation support, and quality of life of more than 5,500 personnel assigned to the 51 Fighter Wing, Headquarters Seventh Air Force, and other U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps units. Additionally, Colonel Gonzales serves as the United States Forces Korea Area Five Commander.
Colonel Gonzales received his commission in 1996 through the U.S. Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico. He earned his wings through the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. His operational assignments include flying the line at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, instructor pilot at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, and Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, Strategy Division Chief of the 612th Air Operations Center, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, Chief of Safety at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, and Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. Colonel Gonzales is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, Air Command and Staff College, the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, and National Defense Fellow at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts. He has commanded at the squadron and group level.
Colonel Gonzales is a command pilot with more than 1,900 flying hours and 179 combat hours. He has operation experience in Southeast Asia, Central and South America to include Operations UNIFIED RESPONSE and DEEP WATER HORIZON, and combat tours in Operations SOUTHERN WATCH, ENDURING FREEDOM, and INHERENT RESOLVE.
1996 Bachelor of Science, Applied Mathematics, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, N.M.
2003 Distinguished Graduate, Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2006 Distinguished Graduate, U.S. Air Force Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev.
2008 Master of Science, Military Operational Art and Science, Air Command and Staff College, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2009 Master of Science, Airpower Art and Science, School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2013 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2015 National Defense Fellow, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Medford, Mass.
1. July 1996 – October 1996, Commander’s Assistant, AFROTC Det 510, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.
2. November 1996 – July 1998, Student, Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, Sheppard AFB, TX.
3. August 1998 – April 1999, Student, A-10 Formal Training Unit, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ.
4. May 1999 – May 2000, Pilot, 25th Fighter Squadron, Osan AB, Republic of Korea
5. June 2000 – May 2003, Instructor Pilot, 355th Fighter Squadron, Eielson AFB, AK.
6. June 2003 – June 2007, Instructor Pilot and Chief of Weapons and Tactics, 9th Fighter Squadron, Holloman AFB, NM.
7. July 2007 – June 2008, Student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
8. July 2008 – June 2009, Student, School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Maxwell AFB, AL.
9. July 2009 – January 2011, Chief, Strategy Division, 612th Air Operations Center, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ.
10. February 2011 – December 2012, Chief of Safety, 23d Wing, Moody AFB, GA (April 2012 – October 2012, Chief of Safety, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, Bagram AB, Afghanistan)
11. January 2013 – June 2014, Commander, 23d Operations Support Squadron, Moody AFB, GA.
12. July 2014 – June 2015, National Defense Fellow, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Medford, MA.
13. June 2015 – June 2017, Deputy Chief, Iran, Iraq, Syria Division, Middle East Directorate, Joint Staff J5, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
14. June 2017 – June 2018, Commander, 407th Air Expeditionary Group, Undisclosed location, Southwest Asia
15. July 2018 – June 2019, Chief, Flight Operations Division, Operations Directorate, Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA.
16. June 2019 – Present, Commander, 51st Fighter Wing, Osan AB, Republic of Korea
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
June 2015 – June 2017, Deputy Chief, Iran, Iraq, Syria Division, Middle East Directorate, Joint Staff J5, Pentagon, Washington, D.C., as a Colonel
Rating: command pilot
Flight hours: more than 1,900, including 179 combat hours
Aircraft flown: A-10C, F-117, T-38, A-10A
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster
1996 Distinguished Graduate, U.S. Air Force ROTC, University of New Mexico
2003 Distinguished Graduate, Squadron Officer School
2006 Distinguished Graduate and Flying Award, U.S. Air Force Weapons School
2012 ACC Flight Safety Program of the Year (455 AEW, Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan)
2016 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Selection to SAIS Basin Harbor Seminar
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant June 1996
First Lieutenant June 1998
Captain June 2000
Major June 2006
Lieutenant Colonel March 2010
Colonel May 2016
(Current as of June 18, 2019)