COLONEL REBECCA J. SONKISS

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Colonel Rebecca J. Sonkiss is the Commander, 62nd Airlift Wing, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.  She ensures the readiness of more than 2,400 active duty military and civilian personnel, along with 48 permanently assigned C-17 Globemaster III aircraft to support worldwide combat and humanitarian airlift and airdrop operations. As the provider of the Prime Nuclear Airlift Forces, the 62nd AW is the only wing in the Department of Defense tasked to airlift nuclear and nuclear-related cargo. In addition, the 62nd AW serves as the primary active-duty wing in support of Operation Deep Freeze, partnering with Reserve, Guard, and civilian agencies to provide airlift support for the National Science Foundation’s U.S. Antarctic Program. The wing also provides mission support to the 446th Airlift Wing (Associate). Additionally, the colonel serves as the U.S. Air Force Senior Service Component Commander at Joint Base Lewis-McChord representing the interests of approximately 7,000 Total Force Airmen to the Joint Base Partnership Council and the surrounding community in the Pacific Northwest.

 

Col Sonkiss graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1994 and completed joint undergraduate pilot training at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas. She has held several staff positions and commanded an operational C-17 squadron to include two deployed command tours executing combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa. Prior to this assignment, she served as the Vice Commander, 455 Air Expeditionary Wing, Bagram, Afghanistan.

 

Colonel Sonkiss is a command pilot with more than 4,200 hours in the T-37B, T-44, EC-130E/H, RQ- 1A/B, C-130J and C-17A aircraft.

 

EDUCATION
1994 Bachelor of Science, Engineering Mechanics, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.

2001 Distinguished Graduate, Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

2005 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., by correspondence

2006 Master of Science, Aeronautical Science, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

2007 Master of Science, Strategic Intelligence, Asia Regional Specialty, National Defense Intelligence College, Defense Intelligence Agency, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C.

2011 Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., by correspondence

2014 Master of Science, National Resource Strategy, Distinguished Graduate and Research Writing Award Recipient, National Defense University, Dwight D. Eisenhower School, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.

 

 

ASSIGNMENTS
1. June 1994 – February 1995, Executive Officer, 54th Operations Group, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo.

2. February 1995 – August 1995, Student, Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas

3. August 1995 – April 1996, Student, Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot training, Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas

4. August 1996 – October 1999, Squadron Scheduler, Squadron Chief of Safety, Aircraft Commander, EC-130E, 42nd Airborne Command and Control Squadron, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.

5. October 1999 – December 2001, Squadron Chief of Safety, Training Flight Commander, B-Flight

Commander, Evaluator Pilot, RQ-1A/B, 11th Reconnaissance Squadron, Creech Air Force Base, Nev.

6. December 2001 – May 2002, Student, C-17 Initial Aircraft Commander Qualification Course, Altus Air Force Base, Okla.

7. May 2002 – August 2005, Squadron Operations Controller, Squadron Executive Officer, Wing Executive Officer, Instructor Aircraft Commander, C-17A, 8th Airlift Squadron, 62nd Airlift Wing, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

8. August 2005 – August 2006, Unmanned Aircraft Systems Career Field Manager, Operational Training Division, Headquarters Air Force, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

9. August 2006 – August 2007, Student, National Defense Intelligence College, Defense Intelligence Agency, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C.

10. August 2007 –  May 2010, Chief, 437th Airlift Wing Objective Wing Command Post, Director of Operations, 17th Airlift Squadron, Evaluator Aircraft Commander, C-17A, Charleston Air Force Base, S.C.

11. May 2010 – May 2012, Commander, 15th Airlift Squadron, Charleston Air Force Base, S.C.

12. June 2012 – June 2013, Executive Officer to the Commander, Air Mobility Command, Scott AFB, Ill.

13. July 2013 – June 2014, Student, Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington D.C.

14. June 2014 – July 2016, USTRANSCOM liaison to USCENTCOM and USSOCOM, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

15. July 2016 – July 2017, Vice Commander, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan

16. July 2017 – Present, Commander, 62nd Airlift Wing, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

 

SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS

1. Jun 2014 – July 2016, USTRANSCOM liaison to USCENTCOM and USSOCOM, MacDill AFB, Fla.

FLIGHT INFORMATION
Rating: Command Pilot

Flight Hours: More than 4,200

Aircraft Flown: T-37B, T-44, C-130E, EC-130E/H, RQ-1A/B, C-130J, C-17A

MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Superior Service Medal

Bronze Star

Meritorious Service Medal with seven oak leaf clusters

Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters

Aerial Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters

Joint Service Commendation Medal

Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster

Combat Readiness Medal with five oak leaf clusters

Kosovo Campaign Medal with bronze star

Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two bronze stars

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

Humanitarian Service Medal with two bronze stars

Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal

Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border with five oak leaf clusters

 

EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant      June 1, 1994

First Lieutenant           June 1, 1996

Captain                        June 1, 1998

Major                           September 1, 2004

Lieutenant Colonel      August 1, 2009

Colonel                        October 1, 2014

 

(Current as of July 2017)