Colonel Jacob M. Thornburg is the Deputy Commander, 22d Air Refueling Wing, McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, one of the Air Force’s three core tanker wings. The Wing provides all- weather, in-flight aerial refueling for U.S. and allied military aircraft, as well as Global Reach airlift for the rapid and precise projection of troops, equipment, and supplies worldwide. In this role, he assists the Commander in leading more than 3,500 active duty Airmen supporting global contingency and conventional operations as well as U.S. Strategic Command’s operational plans. The 22d Air Refueling Wing is the host wing for the Kansas Air National Guard’s 184th Wing and the Air Force Reserve Command’s 931st Air Refueling Wing. 

Colonel Thornburg graduated from San Jose State University and received his commission as a ROTC distinguished graduate. He is a graduate of the United Kingdom’s Advanced Command & Staff Course where he earned a master’s degree in 2013 from King’s College of London. His service and leadership experience spans several key operational and staff positions at the Squadron, Wing, and MAJCOM levels. Colonel Thornburg is a graduate of AMC’s Phoenix Mobility program and Phoenix Reach program. He commanded an executive airlift squadron in support of senior military leaders, executive branch personnel, and Congressional members.

Colonel Thornburg is a Joint Qualified Officer with NATO experience having served as a J3 staff officer and then Executive Officer to the Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations and Intelligence, Allied Command Operations, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. He has deployed in support of global operations flying tanker, airlift, and executive airlift aircraft.


1999 - Bachelor of Science degree, Aviation Administration, San Jose State University, CA. (Awarded DG)
2006 - Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala. (Awarded Top Third Graduate)
2008 - Masters Aeronautical Science, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Fl. (Awarded Honors)
2009 - Air Command & Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala. (Non-residence)
2013 - Advanced Command & Staff Course, Shrivenham, United Kingdom
2013 - Masters of Arts, Defense Studies, King’s College of London (with Merit)


  1. July 2000 – August 2001, student, Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, 8th/31rst Flying Training Squadron, Vance AFB, OK.
  2. February 2002 – June 2007, Evaluator/Instructor Pilot, 384th Air Refueling Squadron, McConnell AFB, KS.
  3. June 2007 – May 2008, AMC Intern/Tanker Planner, 15th Air Mobility Operations Squadron, Travis AFB, CA.
  4. May 2008 – Oct 2008, Operation Enduring Freedom Chief Tanker Planner, Combined Air Operations Center, Al Udeid AB, Qatar.
  5. Oct 2008 – Oct 2009, Chief, Wing Readiness, 573d Global Support Squadron, Travis AFB, CA.
  6. Oct 2009 – Jun 2010, Assistant Director Operations (ADO), 573d Global Support Squadron, Travis AFB, CA.
  7. Jun 2010 – Jun 2012, ADO, 4th Airlift Squadron; Chief, Command Post; Chief, Commander’s Action Group, 62d Airlift Wing, Joint Base Lewis McChord, WA.
  8. Aug 2012 – May 2013, IDE student, Joint Service Command Staff College, Shrivenham, UK.
  9. July 2013 – July 2016, Executive Officer, Special Assistant to DCOS OPI; J3 Staff Officer, SHAPE, Mons, BE.
  10.  July 2016 – June 2017, Chief of Safety, 375th Air Mobility Wing, Scott AFB, IL
  11.  June 2017 – May 2019, Commander, 54th Airlift Squadron, Scott AFB, IL
  12.  May 2019 – May 2020, Chief, Force Development, AMC/A1KB, Scott AFB, IL
  13.  May 2020 – July 2021, Executive Officer to AMC/CC, Scott AFB, IL
  14.  Aug 2021 – July 2022, Air Force Fellow, Harvard Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Cambridge, MA.
  15. July 2022 - Present, Deputy Commander, 22d Air Refueling Wing, McConnell AFB, Kansas


1. July 2013 – July 2016, Executive Officer; Special Assistant to DCOS OPI; J3 Staff Officer, SHAPE, Mons, BE.


Rating:  Command Pilot

Flight hours:  3,600+

Aircraft flown: KC-46A, C-40C, C-17A, KC-135R/T/RT, T-1A, T-37B


Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Air Force Achievement Medal
Meritorious Unit Award
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters
Combat Readiness Medal
Nation Defense Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border
General Douglas MacArthur writing award, Joint & Combined Warfighting School, Norfolk, VA.
2022 Boston Marathon Qualifier & Finisher


Second Lieutenant - January 16, 2000
First Lieutenant - January 16, 2002
Captain - January 16, 2004
Major - October 1, 2009
Lieutenant Colonel - April 1, 2015
Colonel - April 1, 2021

(Current as of June 2022)