Lieutenant Colonel BRANDON K. RETHERFORD

Lt. Col. Brandon K. Retherford is the commander of the 182nd Operations Group in Peoria, Illinois, where he directs the commissioned and enlisted Airmen who fly the Lockheed C-130H3 cargo aircraft in combat and support missions around the world. He is responsible for maintaining combat readiness and ensuring that the 182nd Airlift Wing accomplishes its state and federal missions as directed.

Lt. Col. Retherford enlisted August 1996, graduating from aerospace maintenance craftsman training in December 1997. He received a bachelor’s degree in technical systems management from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and completed the university’s professional pilot curriculum in 2003, followed by commissioning from the Air National Guard’s Academy of Military Science in September 2003. He graduated from specialized undergraduate pilot training at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, and Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, in 2004. Lt. Col. Retherford spent seven years as a mobility pilot and drill status Guardsman while working in the civilian sector as a charter pilot. He then transitioned to full-time military service, rapidly progressing through lead pilot/mission commander, instructor pilot and evaluator pilot upgrades, and the C-130H Weapons Instructor Course.

Lt. Col. Retherford brings diverse leadership and tactical airlift experience gleaned from multiple roles during seven U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) deployments, a short tour as initial cadre for the ANG C-130H Weapons Instructor Course hosted at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, Missouri, and leading aircrews from across the Total Force in seven joint/tactical operations exercises. His organizational background includes experience in operations group tactics, operations group standards and evaluation, and wing plans and integration, and Wing Inspector General. Prior to his current position, the lieutenant colonel served as the 169th Airlift Squadron commander, 182nd Airlift Wing, Peoria, Illinois.

1997 Aircraft Maintenance Craftsman (Heavy Aircraft), Air Education and Training Command, Sheppard AFB, Texas
2003 Bachelor of Science, Technical Systems Management, University of Illinois, Urbana
2003 Professional Pilot Curriculum, University of Illinois Institute of Aviation, Savoy
2004 U.S. Air Force Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Air Education and Training Command, Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas
2005 C-130E/H Pilot Initial/Formation Qualification, AETC, Little Rock AFB, Ark.
2010 Squadron Officer School, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., by correspondence
2013 ANG Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Course, Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center, St. Joseph, Mo.
2013 Combat Airlift Tactics Studies / Mobility Electronic Combat Officer Course, AATTC, St Joseph, Mo.
2014 C-130H Weapons Instructor Course, USAF Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev.
2017 Air Command and Staff College, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2020 Contingency/Wartime Planning Course, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2020 Inspector General Training Course, Air Force Inspection Agency, by correspondence
2022 Squadron Commanders Course, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence

1. September 1996–September 2003, C-130 Crew Chief, 182nd Aircraft Generation Squadron, Peoria, Ill.
2. September 2003–July 2005, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, and Little Rock AFB, Ark.
3. July 2005–March 2011, C-130H Mobility Pilot, 169th Airlift Squadron, Peoria, Ill.
4. March 2011–November 2013, C-130H Aircraft Commander, 169th Airlift Squadron, Peoria, Ill.
5. November 2013–July 2014, C-130H Instructor Pilot, 169th Airlift Squadron, Peoria, Ill.
6. July 2014–December 2014, C-130H Weapons Officer, 169th Airlift Squadron, Peoria, Ill.
7. December 2014–May 2015, Weapons Instructor Course Cadre, Detachment 1, 29th Weapons Squadron, Rosecrans ANGB, Mo.
8. May 2015–March 2016, C-130H Tactics Officer, Flight Commander, 169th Airlift Squadron, Peoria, Ill.
9. March 2016–July 2018, Standardization and Evaluation Pilot, 182nd Operations Group, Peoria, Ill.
10. July 2018–October 2019, Wing Plans and Integration, 182nd Airlift Wing, Peoria, Ill.
11. October 2019–April 2021, Inspector General, 182nd Airlift Wing, Peoria, Ill.
12. April 2021–May 2022, Commander, 169th Airlift Squadron, Peoria, Ill.
13. May 2022–Present, Commander, 182nd Operations Group, Peoria, Ill.

Rating: Command pilot
Flight hours: more than 3,200 (including 390 combat hours)
Aircraft flown: T-37, T-44, C-130E, C-130H

Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air and Space Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air and Space Achievement Medal

Illinois Long and Honorable Military Service Medal
Illinois Military Attendance Ribbon with “4” device
Illinois State Active Duty Ribbon

2011 Distinguished Graduate, C-130 Pilot Checkout Course
2013 Distinguished Graduate, C-130 Instructor Pilot Course

National Guard Association of Illinois (lifetime member)
National Guard Association of the United States (lifetime member)

Second Lieutenant Sept. 26, 2003
First Lieutenant Sept. 26, 2005
Captain Sept. 26, 2007
Major Aug. 08, 2012
Lieutenant Colonel Aug. 08, 2019