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Lieutenant Colonel JOSEPH P. CONTINO

Lieutenant Colonel Joseph P. Contino is the Operations Group Commander of the 914th Air Refueling Wing at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, New York.  In addition to his group staff, he commands the 328th Air Refueling Squadron, 914th Operational Support Squadron, and the 914th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.  He also augments AMC/HQ; A10N Nuclear Operations and Plans division as a planner and subject matter expert.

Lieutenant Colonel Contino is a current and qualified KC-135R instructor pilot with past experiences in numerous deployed expeditionary leadership roles and Chief of both Tactics and XP for the 121st Air Refueling Wing, Rickenbacker ANGB, Ohio where he was responsible for supporting the AFTRANS NEF and STRATCOM by assuring 12 KC-135R aircraft, 16 combat ready crews of the 121st Air Refueling Wing were trained and ready to conduct global nuclear operations as part of the 18th Air Force’s Nuclear Task Force.

Lieutenant Colonel Contino entered the Air Force as a cadet in the USAF Auxiliary - Civil Air Patrol at the age of 13.  At 19 he joined the USAF as a member of the Ohio Air National Guard (121st Tactical Fighter Wing) as an Airman Basic; Aircraft Armament Systems Specialist (i.e. weapons loader) on the A-7D aircraft.  In 1992 the 121st TFW transitioned to the KC-135R aircraft, thus becoming the 121st Air Refueling Wing and affording him the opportunity to cross train and fly as a Boom Operator.  As a KC135R Boom Operator he participated in Operations DENY FLIGHT and SHINING HOPE.  He eventually pursued a career as a commissioned officer and pilot and was selected by the 910 Airlift Wing as a C-130H pilot.  He later had the opportunity to return home to the 121st Air Refueling Wing as a pilot where he has participated in Operation NOBLE EAGLE (ONE), Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF), Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF), and Operation INHERENT RESOLVE (OIR) where he has amassed 460 combat flying hours.  He has also deployed in support of the PACOM Continuous Bomber Presence mission five times, and most recently conducted combat operations as an Expeditionary Refueling Squadron Operations Officer for Operation INHERENT RESOLVE (OIR).

Lieutenant Colonel Contino has served in many squadron and wing level positions as Chief of Squadron Training then later as the Chief Pilot Scheduler of the 166th Air Refueling Squadron.  He has also served the 121st ARW as the Chief of Wing Tactics and the 121st OG as an Instructor Pilot.

Lieutenant Colonel Contino is a command pilot with over 3300 hours in the KC-135, including 475 hours of combat time (total). 



1994 Associates of Applied Science in Business Marketing, Columbus State CC

1996 Bachelor of Arts in Marketing, Franklin University, USA

1998 Master of Business Administration, Franklin University, USA

2009 Advanced Instrument School, Tinker AFB, Oklahoma

2010 Combat Air Tactics School, Rosecrans ANGB, Missouri

2008 Squadron Officer School, non-resident course, Maxwell AFB, Alabama

2013 Air Command and Staff College, non-resident Maxwell AFB, Alabama

2020 Air War College, non-resident Maxwell AFB, Alabama



  1. April 1991 – May 1992, Aircraft Armament Systems Specialist, A-7D, 121st Tactical Fighter Wing, Rickenbacker ANGB, Ohio
  2. May 1992 – December 1992, Crew Chief, KC-135R, 121st Air Refueling Wing, Rickenbacker ANGB, Ohio
  3. December 1992 – October 1996, Boom Operator, KC-135R, 121st Air Refueling Wing, Rickenbacker ANGB, Ohio
  4. October 1996 – May 2000, Pilot, C-130H, 910th Airlift Wing, Youngstown ARS, Ohio
  5. May 2000 – October 2021, Pilot, KC-135R, 121st Air Refueling Wing, Rickenbacker ANGB, Ohio
  6. May 2020 – Present, Planner/SME, AMC/A10N, Scott AFB, Illinois
  7. October 2021 – Present, Commander, 914th Operations Group, Niagara Falls ARS, New York



Rating: USAF: Instructor Pilot; CIVIL: ATP, AMEL

Flight hours: 5010

Aircraft flown: KC-135R, C-130H, B737, T-37, T-44



Meritorious Service Medal

Air Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster

Aerial Achievement Medal

Air Force Commendation Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster

Joint Meritorious Unit Award

Meritorious Unit Award

AF Outstanding Unit Award with 2 oak leaf cluster

Combat Readiness Medal with 5 oak leaf cluster

Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster

National Defense Service Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster

Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

Armed Forces Service Medal

Humanitarian Service Medal

Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster

AF Overseas Ribbon Short

Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon

AF Longevity Service with 5 oak leaf cluster

Armed Forces Reserve Medal with 1 'M' Device

USAF NCO PME Graduate Ribbon

Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon (Pistol)

AF Training Ribbon



Permanent (lifetime) member, National Guard Association

Permanent (lifetime) member, Veterans of Foreign Wars

Permanent (lifetime) member, American Legion

Permanent (lifetime) member, Knights of Columbus



Second Lieutenant May, 1997

First Lieutenant May, 1999

Captain Aug, 2001

Major Oct, 2007

Lieutenant Colonel Feb, 2014



May 1984 – June 1990, U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol




Enlisted as an Airman Basic in the 121st Tactical Fighter Wing

Aircraft weapons system school 1991 - A-7D fighter aircraft

Boom Operator KC-135R CCTS flight school, 1992, Castle AFB, CA

Left enlisted rank as E-5 (Staff Sergeant)




Commissioned as U.S. Air Force Reserve Officer via Officer Training School 1997, Maxwell AFB, AL

Pilot candidate for 910 Airlift Wing (C-130H2) Youngstown ARB, OH

Graduated Undergraduate Pilot Training 1998, NAS Corpus Christi, TX

Graduated C-130H co-pilot training 1999, Little Rock AFB, AR

Graduated KC-135R co-pilot training 2000, Altus AFB, OK

Graduated KC-135R Aircraft Commander training 2004, Altus AFB, OK

Graduated KC-135R Combat Air Tactics School (CATS) 2009, St Joseph, MO

Graduated KC-135R Instructor pilot training 2010, Altus AFB, OK


(Current as of October 2021)