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COLONEL CHRISTOPHER D. GRIES

Col. Christopher Gries serves the Oklahoma Air National Guard (ANG) as the Commander of the 137th Special Operations Wing, Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma City, Okla. Col. Gries is responsible for the combat readiness of a special operations wing consisting of three groups, including 14 squadrons and flights and 10 staff offices with more than 1,200 personnel. He directs, trains, equips and maintains a military force capable of short notice, world-wide deployments in response to Department of Defense approved war plans, contingencies and disaster relief.

Col. Gries began his career in the U.S. Air Force as an enlisted airman in September of 1993, graduating basic training as an honor graduate and selected for follow-on training as a Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) member. He completed technical training at Hurlburt Field, Florida, in June 1994 and was assigned to Fort Stewart, Georgia, for his first assignment. Col. Gries served as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) for multiple active duty and National Guard assignments, until commissioning with the Idaho ANG in January 2002. He attended Undergraduate Pilot Training at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, and graduated from C- 130E/H mission qualification training in September 2003. Throughout his career, he flew the C-130H supporting wartime airlift mobilizations, humanitarian aid and intelligence collection; the RC-26B executing domestic joint counter narco-terrorism operations and overseas contingencies; commanded both the 146th Air Support Operations Squadron as an Air Liaison Officer (ALO) and the 185th Special Operations Squadron as an MC-12W instructor pilot. Col. Gries is a veteran of Operations VIGILANT WARRIOR, VIGILANT GUARD, IRAQI FREEDOM, ENDURING FREEDOM, NEW HOPE, and NEW DAWN.  

Col. Gries is a command pilot with over 3,300 total military and civilian hours in the T-37, T-1, C-130E/H, RC-26, MC-12W and numerous civilian aircraft. He currently holds the rating of instructor pilot for the MC-12W. In his civilian capacity, he served as an Air Interdiction Agent, Department of Homeland Security, Air and Marine Operations. Prior to assuming his current position, Col. Gries was the Commander, 137th Special Operations Group.

EDUCATION

1993

Basic Military Training, Lackland AFB, TX

1994

Tactical Air Command and Control Specialist Technical Training, Hurlburt Field, FL

1995

US Army Basic Airborne Qualification Course, Ft Benning, GA

1996

Air Ground Operation School, Hurlburt Field, FL

1997

US Navy SCUBA School, Panama City, FL

1999

Associates of Information Technology, Community College of the Air Force, Maxwell AFB, AL

2002

Bachelor of Arts, Management, Excelsior College, Albany, N.Y.

2002

Academy of Military Science, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tenn.

2003

Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Columbus AFB, MS

2004

C-130E/H Initial Qualification Course, Little Rock Arkansas

2006

Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., by correspondence

2007

C-130 E/H Instructor Pilot Qualification Course, Little Rock AFB, AR

2008

RC-26 Initial Qualification Course, Hurlburt Field, FL

2012

Joint Fire Power Control Course, Nellis AFB, NV

2012

Air Liaison Officer Qualification Course, Nellis AFB, NV

2013

Joint Terminal Attack Control Course, Nellis AFB, NV

2014

Air Force Special Operations Command Mission Commanders Course, Hurlburt Field, Fla.

2014

Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence

2016

Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence

2017

MC-12W Initial Qualification Course, Oklahoma City, OK

2017

MC-12W Instructor Pilot Qualification Course, Oklahoma City, OK

 

ASSIGNMENTS

  1. June 1994 – August 1996, Battalion TACP, 15th Air Support Operations Squadron, Ft. Stewart, Ga.
  2. June 1995 – August 1996, Company TACP, 17th Air Support Operations Squadron (OL-A), Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.
  3. August 1996 – August 1997, Battalion TACP, 607th Air Support Operations Squadron, Camp Casey, Republic of Korea
  4. March 1997 – January 1998, TACP Team Leader, 5th Air Support Operations Squadron, Ft Lewis, Wash.
  5. January 1998 – December 1999, Chief of Training, 116th Air Support Operations Squadron, Camp Murray, Wash.
  6. December 1999 – January 2002, Chief Standard/Evaluation, 124th Air Support Operations Squadron, Gowen Field, Idaho
  7. March 2002 – May 2003, Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Columbus Air Force Base, Miss.
  8. June 2003 –September 2003, C-130E/H Initial Qualification Training, Little Rock AFB, Ark.
  9. September 2003 – June 2009, C-130E/H Instructor Pilot, 189th Airlift Squadron, Gowen Field, Idaho (August 2004– December 2004, Weapons/Tactics Officer, 744th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait; January 2008 – May 2008, ISR Liaison Officer AFSOUTH, Davis Monthan AFB, Tucson, Ariz.)
  10. June 2009 – June 2012, RC-26, Joint Counter Narco-Terrorism-Task Force, Tucson, Ariz. (May 2010–August 2010, RC-26, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force, 45th ESOS, USCENTCOM)
  11. June 2012- May 2015, Director Operations, 146th Air Support Operations Squadron, Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Okla.
  12. May 2015 – June 2017, Commander, 146th Air Support Operations Squadron, Will Rogers ANGB, Okla.
  13. June 2017– December 2018, Commander, 185th Special Operations Squadron, Will Rogers ANGB, Okla.
  14. December 2018 – May 2021, Commander, 137th Special Operations Group, Will Rogers ANGB, Okla.
  15. May 2021 – Present, Commander, 137th Special Operations Wing, Will Rogers ANGB, Okla.

FLIGHT INFORMATION

Rating: Command Pilot

Flight hours: more than 2,000

Aircraft flown: T-37, T1, C-130E/H, RC-26B, MC-12W

 

MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS

Meritorious Service Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster

Air Medal with 3 oak leaf clusters

Air Force Commendation Medal

Army Commendation Medal

Air Force Achievement Medal with 4 oak leaf clusters

Army Achievement Medal with 4 oak leaf clusters

 

 

EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION

Enlisted                                1993-2002

Second Lieutenant               February 2002

First Lieutenant                     February 2004

Captain                                 February 2006

Major                                    April 2010

Lieutenant Colonel               February 2015

Colonel                                December 2018

(Current as of July 2021)