Col. Steven R. Thomas is the vice commander of the 182nd Airlift Wing, Peoria Air National Guard Base, Illinois. He is responsible for numerous wing programs, as well as advising and assisting the wing commander with maintaining the combat readiness of eight C-130 Hercules aircraft and more than 1,240 traditional and full-time Illinois Air National Guardsmen.
Col. Thomas began his military career in the Illinois ANG as an enlisted security policeman and an engineering technician from 1986 to 1998. He was then commissioned as a second lieutenant after graduating from the Academy of Military Science in Knoxville, Tennessee. During his career he has served in logistics, executive and command roles. Col. Thomas served as the installation deployment officer and in 2003 planned and executed the wing’s largest mobilization to date supporting Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. He developed and managed plans to move 335 personnel, six C-130 aircraft and 114 tons of equipment to multiple locations in Southwest Asia. Additionally, he served as the lead unit logistics planner for ANG C-130 operations in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom from 2002 through 2004 and coordinated maintenance and operations support for eight ANG C-130 units. He planned and executed 18 rotations of more than 1,000 personnel, eight aircraft and support equipment to include three location changes.
Col. Thomas was assigned as the officer in charge of more than 400 Airmen called to state active duty for Operation Mississippi Western Response in Quincy, Illinois, which supported the state joint task force’s protection of life and property during the floods of 2008. He has been involved in the Illinois National Guard’s State Partnership Program with the Republic of Poland since 2008, during which time he has coordinated over 15 exchanges supporting Poland’s first C-130 flying squadron. Prior to his current position, the colonel served as the executive officer of the 182nd Airlift Wing, Peoria, Illinois.
1997 Associate of Applied Science, Construction Technology, Community College of the Air Force, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
1997 Bachelor of Science, Manufacturing Engineering Technology, Bradley University, Peoria, Ill.
1998 Academy of Military Science, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tenn.
2005 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2008 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2013 U.S. Air Force Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
1. November 1998–December 2000, Logistics Plans Officer, Peoria, Ill.
2. December 2000–March 2001, Commander, 182nd Logistics Support Flight, Peoria, Ill.
3. March 2001–January 2002, Supply Officer, 182nd Supply Squadron, Peoria, Ill.
4. January 2002–February 2003, Logistics Readiness Officer, Peoria, Ill.
5. February 2003–September 2004, Commander, 182nd Aerial Port Flight, Peoria, Ill.
6. September 2004–October 2016, Wing Executive Support Officer, Peoria, Ill.
7. October 2016–Present, Vice Commander, 182nd Airlift Wing, Ill.
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters
STATE AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Illinois Medal of Merit
Abraham Lincoln Medal of Freedom
Illinois Military Long and Honorable Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters
Illinois Military Attendance Medal with “14” device
Illinois State Active Duty Ribbon with “2” device
National Guard Association of the United States (lifetime member)
National Guard Association of Illinois (lifetime member, past member of the Board of Directors)
The American Legion
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant Nov. 10, 1998
First Lieutenant Nov. 19, 2000
Captain Nov. 19, 2002
Major Nov. 20, 2006
Lieutenant Colonel June 15, 2011
Colonel June 14, 2018
(Current as of February 2020)