Col. William H. O’Brien, IV, is Commander of the 479th Flying Training Group at Pensacola Naval Air Station, Fla. The Group includes three squadrons, 325 personnel and 45 T-6 Texan II and T-1A Jayhawk aircraft and trains over 300 Combat Systems Officers each year for the U.S. Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command and Air National Guard. Additionally, the Group supports over 1,500 Air Force personnel in the Pensacola, Fla area. Prior to this command assignment, he was the Division Chief Enterprise and Engagement, Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Directorate, Deputy Chief of Staff Strategy, Integration, and Requirements, Headquarters United States Air Force, Arlington, Va.
Col. O’Brien received a Bachelor of Design Degree in Architecture from the University of Florida and entered the Air Force in 1998 as a graduate from the USAF Officer Training School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. He is a graduate of the USAF Weapons School and has led units to combat as the Squadron and Wing Weapons Officer. Col. O’Brien served as the Command Electronic Warfare Officer, USSTRATCOM, J3E. He was the Commander, 453d Electronic Warfare Squadron, where he led a 192-member squadron providing Electromagnetic Warfare support to the Combat Air Force, joint & allied warfighters, planners, and DoD leaders. Prior to command, he was the 607th Air Operations Center, Combat Plans Division Deputy Chief, and Master Air Attack Plan (MAAP) Chief, Republic of Korea. Additionally, Col. O’Brien was the Assistant Director of Operations for Integration at the 561st Joint Tactics Squadron and Instructor Weapons System Officer at the United States Air Force Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev. He has logged more than 2,600 flying hours in B-1B, T-34, HH-60, T-1A, T-39, AT-38, E-8C, RC-135, F-16CM, and F-15D, with over 2,400 hours in the B-1B and over 1,100 hours of combat experience over Iraq and Afghanistan.
1998 Bachelor of Design, Architecture, University of Florida, Gainesville
2004 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2006 U.S. Air Force Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev.
2009 Air Command and Staff College by correspondence, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2010 Master of Business Administration and Management, Touro University International, Cypress, Calif.
2013 Air War College by correspondence, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2019 Master’s degree in strategic studies, Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
1. September 1998–December 1998, Special Project Officer, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2. December 1998–December 1999, student, Specialized Undergraduate Navigator Training, Pensacola Naval Air Station, Fla.
3. December 1999–April 2000, Squadron Flight Duty Officer, Pensacola NAS, Fla.
4. April 2000–August 2000, student, Electronic Warfare Officer Course, Randolph AFB, Texas
5. August 2000–July 2001, student, B-1B Initial Qualification Course, Dyess AFB, Texas
6. July 2001–August 2002, B-1B Weapons Systems Officer, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho
7. August 2002–June 2005, Flight Commander, B-1B Instructor, Evaluator Weapons Systems Officer, Ellsworth AFB,
8. June 2005–March 2008, Chief of Weapons and Tactics, 9th Bomb Squadron, Dyess AFB, Texas
9. March 2008–August 2010, Assistant Director of Operations, USAF Weapons School Instructor, Dyess AFB, Texas
10. August 2010–November 2012, Assistant Director of Operations, 561st Joint Tactics Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nev.
11. November 2012-August 2013, Master Air Attack Plans Chief, 607th Air And Space Operations Center, Osan Air
Base, Republic of Korea
12. August 2013-November 2013, Combat Plans Division Deputy Chief, 607th Air And Space Operations Center, Osan
AB, Republic of Korea
13. November 2013–May 2014, Director of Operations, 453rd Electronic Warfare Squadron, Joint Base San Antonio-
Lackland AFB, Texas
14. May 2014–June 2016, Commander, 453rd Electronic Warfare Squadron, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland AFB,
15. June 2016–July 2018, USSTRATCOM, Command EWO, J3E, Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations, Offutt
16. July 2018–June 2019, student, Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
17. June 2019–June 2020, Division Chief Enterprise and Engagement, Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority
Directorate, Headquarters United States Air Force, Pentagon
18. June 2020–Present, Commander, 479th Flying Training Group, Pensacola NAS, Fla.
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. June 2016–July 2018, USSTRATCOM, Command EWO, J3E, Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations, Offutt
Rating: Master Navigator
Flight hours: More than 2,500, including 1, 100 combat hours
Aircraft flown: T-34, T-1A, T-39, AT-38, B-1, RC-135, E-8C, HH-60, F-16D, F-15D
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with eight oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal
2000 Outstanding Graduate, Electronic Warfare Officer Course
2007 General Curtis E. Lemay Award
2012 Outstanding Graduate, Air Operations Center Initial Qualification Course
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant September 25, 1998
First Lieutenant September 25, 2000
Captain September 25, 2002
Major June 1, 2008
Lieutenant Colonel October 1, 2013
Colonel November 1, 2019
(Current as of June 2020)