Col Trace Thomas is the Commander of the 120th Airlift Wing, Montana Air National Guard, Great Falls, Montana. He leads a wing of approximately 1000 highly trained Citizen Airmen who are capable of deploying anywhere, anytime in support of national and state objectives. The colonel is responsible for the management of assigned C-130H3 aircraft, equipment, and other wing assets valued at nearly three quarters of a billion dollars. Col Thomas ensures the Wing can meet mobilization requirements and effectively integrate with the active component under all contingencies, he serves as a vital member of the Adjutant General's Senior Staff.
Col Thomas enlisted in the Montana Air National Guard in October 1986 as an Aircraft Maintenance Specialist. After college, Col Thomas was selected for Undergraduate Pilot Training and received his commission from the Academy of Military Science, McGhee-Tyson AB, Knoxville, Tennessee. Col Thomas graduated from Euro NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training in December of 1993 and his flying assignments include operational tours in the F-16, F-15 and C-130. Prior to his current position, Col Thomas was the Commander for the 120th Operations Group, and the 120th Maintenance Group, Montana Air National Guard, Great Falls, Montana
Col Thomas is a command pilot with more than 4300 hours in the F-16A/C, F-15C and C-130H1/2/3. He has qualified as an instructor, evaluator and Mission Commander in multiple aircraft. His operational experiences include 737 EAS Commander and over 200 combat and combat support hours in Operations SOUTHERN WATCH, IRAQI FREEDOM, and INHERENT RESOLVE along with numerous deployments in support of CORONET NIGHTHAWK and OPERATION NOBLE EAGLE.
1991 Bachelor of Science, Aviation Studies, Rocky Mountain College, Billings, Mont.
1994 Euro NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls, Texas
1994 F-16 RTU, 114 FW, ORANG, Klamath Falls, Ore.
2000 Squadron Officer’s School, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2003 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2008 Air War College Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2008 F-15 RTU, 114 FW, ORANG, Klamath Falls, Ore.
2009 Mishap Investigation Course, Kirtland AF, Albuquerque, N.M.
2014 C-130 RTU, Little Rock AFB, Little Rock, Ark.
2015 Mobility Commander’s Tactics Course, MOANG, St. Joseph, Mo.
2019 Commander’s Development Course, Joint Base Andrews, Md.
1. October 1986-July 1992, Aircraft Maintenance Specialist, 120th FIG, MTANG, Great Falls, Mont.
2. July 1992-March 1994, Student, Euro NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, Sheppard AFB, Texas
3. March 1994-September 1994, F-16 RTU, 114th FW ORANG, Klamath Falls, Ore.
4. September 1994-September 1998, Alert Pilot/Scheduler 18th6 FS, Det 1, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.
5. September 1998-February 2002, Chief of Scheduling, 120th FW, MTANG, Great Falls, Mont.
6. February 2002-December 2004, Chief of Standardization/Evaluation, 120th FW, MTANG, Great Falls, Mont. (October 2002-October 2002, Alert Pilot, Prince Sultan AB, Saudi Arabia)
7. December 2004-October 2009, Chief of Training, 120th FW, MTANG, Great Falls, Mont. (January 2008-March 2008, Combat Pilot, Balad AB, Iraq)
8. October 2009-August 2010, Wing Chief of Safety, 120th FW, MTANG, Great Falls, Mont.
9. September 2010-October 2013, Director of Operations, 120th OG/186th FS, MTANG, Great Falls, Mont. (June 2010-March 2012, Alert Pilot, 120 FW/DET 1, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii)
10. October 2013-September 2014, Operations Support Squadron Commander, 120th FW, MTANG, Great Falls, Mont.
11. September 2014-May 2017, 186thAirlift Squadron Commander, 120th AW, MTANG, Great Falls, Mont. (January 2017-March 2017, 737 EAS Commander, Ali Al Salem AB, Kuwait)
12. May 2017-April 2019, 120th Operations Group Commander, 120th AW, MTANG, Great Falls, Mont.
13. April 2019-June 2020 120th Maintenance Group Commander, 120th AW, MTANG, Great Falls, Mont.
14. June 2020-present 120th Airlift Wing Commander, 120th AW, MTANG, Great Falls, Mont.
Rating: Command Pilot
Flight Hours: over 4300 hours
Aircraft Flown: F-16 A/C, F-15C, C-130H1/2/3
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS:
Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Medal with oak leaf cluster
Aerial Achievement Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with valor and eight oak leaf clusters
Combat Readiness Medal with six oak leaf clusters
Air Reserve Meritorious Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters
National Defense Medal with oak leaf cluster
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal with oak leaf cluster
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Korean Defense Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Air Force Expeditionary Service Medal with Gold Border with two oak leaf clusters
AF Longevity Service with five oak leaf clusters
Armed Forces Reserve Medal with 4 ‘M’ Devices
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon (Pistol)