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Colonel Erik L. Aufderheide is the Vice Commander, 914th Air Refueling Wing, as well as the acting 914 ARW Operations Group Commander, Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, New York. The wing, composed of three groups and 12 squadrons, is strategically located on western New York's Canadian border between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Eight KC-135R aircraft are assigned to the wing whose mission is to recruit, train and equip Rapid Global Mobility forces for the Theater or Joint Force Commander. The 914 ARW is host unit to approximately 3,000 assigned military, civil service and contract personnel. In his capacity as the 914th Operations Group Commander, Col. Aufderheide will oversee the Group’s conversion from the C-130 Hercules to the KC-135R Stratotanker.

Col. Aufderheide was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana.  After graduating from Indiana University, Col. Aufderheide entered active duty and attended Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance AFB, OK.  He began his operational career flying the MH60 Pave Hawk aircraft with Air Force Special Operations Command at Kirtland AFB, NM. Later, with Air Combat Command and the 66th Rescue Squadron at Nellis AFB, NV, he deployed numerous times to patrol the No-Fly Zones over Iraq in support of Operations NORTHERN WATCH, SOUTHERN WATCH, and later Operation NEW DAWN. After separating from active duty in 2003, Col. Aufderheide joined the Michigan Air National Guard at Battle Creek until the unit closed in 2005. He joined the Air Force Reserve in 2006 at Grissom ARB where he became a Flight Commander, Squadron Commander, and Deputy Operations Group Commander. As a KC-135R pilot, Col. Aufderheide flew combat missions against the Islamic State (ISIL) in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM over Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

Col. Aufderheide is an instructor and evaluator pilot in the KC-135R, as well as a civilian practice trial attorney.


1994  Bachelor of Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

1999  Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, AL

2001  Masters of Science, Embry Riddle Aero University, FL 

2008  Doctor of Jurisprudence, Indiana University School of Law

2010  Air Command and Staff College

2015  Air War College


1. 1994-1995, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Vance AFB, OK
2. 1995-1996, MH60 Pilot 512th Special Operations Squadron Kirtland AFB, NM
3. 1996-1998, MH60 Pilot. 66Th Rescue Squadron, Nellis AFB, NV Standardization Officer
4. 1999-2002, AETC Instructor
5. 2003-2005, 172nd Fighter Squadron. Michigan Air National Guard
6. 2005-2013, 72nd ARS, 434th Operations Group, Flight Commander
7. 2013-2016, 72nd ARS, 434th Operations Group, Squadron Commander
8. 2016-2017, 434th Deputy Operations Group Commander
9. 2017-present, 914th ARW Vice Wing Commander and 914th Operations Group Commander


Rating: Command Pilot

Flight Hours: 3000+ Military and 3,500+ total flight

Aircraft Flown: T-37, T-38, UH-1, MH-60, AT-38C and KC-135R



Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster

Aerial Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster

Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster

Combat Readiness Medal with one oak leaf cluster

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal

Second Lieutenant - May 17, 1994
First Lieutenant - May 26, 1996
Captain - September 8, 1998
Major - August 25, 2004
Lieutenant Colonel - October 2, 2011
Colonel - May 15, 2017


(Current as of May 2018)