Colonel Nathan T. Colunga is the Vice Commander, 352d Special Operations Wing, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, United Kingdom. He assists in directing the operations of over 1,200 active-duty and civilian Airmen performing Special Tactics missions and MC-130J Commando II and CV-22B Osprey aircraft operations for U.S. Air Force Special Operations in the U.S. European Command.
Colonel Colunga received his commission through ROTC in 2000 after graduation from the University of Texas at Austin. Since completion of navigator training in 2001, he has flown more than 3,300 hours and is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School. Colonel Colunga has commanded special operations forces in garrison and in combat, and executed multiple deployments in support of operations in the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of responsibility. Most recently, he served as the Commander, Joint Special Operations Air Component – Central. Prior to his assignment to RAF Mildenhall, Colonel Colunga was the Deputy Director for Irregular Warfare Policy, in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC), Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Colonel Colunga is married and has two children.
2000 Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, The University of Texas at Austin, TX
2007 Squadron Officers School, Maxwell AFB, AL
2010 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
2011 Master of Arts, Military Studies, American Military University, Charles Town, WV
2013 Master of Arts, National Security and Strategic Studies, Naval Command Staff College, Newport, RI
2017 Master of Science, National Resource Strategy, Eisenhower School (ICAF), Fort McNair, D.C.
August 2000 - August 2001, Student, Jt Specialized Undergraduate Navigator Training, Randolph AFB, TX
November 2001 - April 2002, Student, C-130 initial mission qualification training, Little Rock AFB, AR
May 2002 - July 2004, C-130E Navigator, Tactics Officer, 37th Airlift Squadron, Ramstein AB, GE
July 2004 - November 2004, Student, MC-130P initial mission qualification training, Kirtland AFB, NM
November 2004 - June 2006, MC-130P Instructor Nav, 17th Special Operations Squadron, Kadena AB, JP
June 2006 - November 2008, Chief, Weapons & Tactics, 353d Special Operations Group, Kadena AB, JP
November 2008 - March 2010, Chief, Stan/Eval, 67th Special Operations Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, UK
March 2010 - October 2011, Chief, Group Stan/Eval, 352d Special Operations Group, RAF Mildenhall, UK
October 2011 - June 2012, Assistant Ops Officer, 67th Special Operations Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, UK
July 2012 - July 2013, Student, Naval Command and Staff College, Newport, RI
July 2013 - May 2014, Operations Officer, 9th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, FL
June 2014 - July 2016, Commander, 17th Special Operations Squadron, Kadena AB, JP
July 2016 - June 2017, Student, Eisenhower School (ICAF), National Defense University, Fort McNair, D.C.
June 2017 - July 2019, Branch Chief, Force Assessment, Sufficiency & Readiness, JCS/J8, Pentagon, D.C.
July 2019 - June 2020, Deputy Director, Irregular Warfare Policy, OSD SO/LIC, Pentagon, D.C.
June 2020 - Present, Vice Commander, 352d Special Operations Wing, RAF Mildenhall, UK
Rating: Master Navigator
Flight hours: More than 3,300
Aircraft flown: MC-130J, MC-130P, C-130E, T-43
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Cluster
Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
Aerial Achievement Medal Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
Air Force Achievement Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant, 21 August 2000
First Lieutenant, 21 August 2002
Captain, 21 August 2004
Major, 1 August 2010
Lieutenant Colonel, 1 December 2013
Colonel, 1 February 2020
(Current as of January 2022)