Colonel John D. Caldwell is the Vice Commander 8th Fighter Wing, Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. As Vice Commander, the Col Caldwell plays a key role in the planning, and execution of military operations to include counter-air, aerial interdiction, and close-air support on the Korean Peninsula. The wing consists of more than 3,400 active-duty personnel, four groups, and 13 squadrons including two F-16 fighter squadrons.
Colonel Caldwell graduated from the USAF Academy in 2002 with a Bachelors in Aeronautical Engineering and completed Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program in 2003. Col Caldwell then graduated from the F-16 Replacement Training Unit at Luke AFB, Ariz., in 2005. Following his transition to the F-16, he served in multiple operational squadrons as an F-16 Weapons Officer, Mission Commander, Instructor Pilot, Forward Air Controller (Airborne) Instructor Pilot, and Flight Evaluator. Prior to the Wolf Pack, he commanded the USAF Thunderbirds for three years at Nellis AFB, Nev. Additionally, he was the Commander of the 28th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Eglin AFB, Fla.
Colonel Caldwell’s operational experiences include Operations NOBLE EAGLE, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. He is a command pilot with over 3,200 flying hours in the F-16.
2002 Bachelor degree in Aeronautical Engineering, USAF Academy, Distinguished Graduate, Top Aeronautical Design Student
2007 Squadron Officer School, Distinguished Graduate
2009 United States Air Force Weapons School
2013 Master of Science degree in Aerospace Science & Technology, Embry Riddle University
2014 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
2015 Master of Science degree in Defense Analysis, Naval Postgraduate School, Distinguished Graduate, Outstanding Thesis Award, Outstanding Air Force Student
- Aug 2002 - Oct 2002, Operations Scheduler, 27th Fighter Squadron, Langley AFB, Va.
- Oct 2002 - Nov 2003, Student Pilot, Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program, Sheppard AFB, Texas
- Nov 2003 - Jan 2004, Student Pilot, Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals, Sheppard AFB, Texas
- Feb 2004 - Feb 2005, Student Pilot, F-16 RTU, 308th FS, Luke AFB, Ariz.
- Feb 2005 - Aug 2007, Chief of Standardization and Evaluation/Instructor Pilot, 524th FS, Cannon AFB, N.M.
- Sept 2007 - Jun 2009, Instructor Pilot/Flight Commander, 61st FS, Luke AFB, Ariz.
- Jun 2009 - Dec 2009, Student Pilot, USAF Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev.
- Jan 2010 - Dec 2011, Chief of Weapons and Tactics, 555th FS, Aviano Air Base, Italy
- Jan 2012 - Jun 2014, F-16 Division Commander/Chief of Weapons and Tactics, 85th TES, Eglin AFB, Fla.
- Jun 2014 - Dec 2015, Student, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif.
- May 2016 - Jun 2016, Director of Operations, 85th TES, Eglin AFB, Fla.
- Jun 2017 - Aug 2018, Commander, 28th TES, Eglin AFB, Fla.
- Aug 2018 – May 2022, Thunderbird #1, Commander/Leader, Air Demonstration Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nev.
- May 2022 – Present, Vice Commander, 8th FW, Kunsan AB, Republic of Korea
Rating: Command Pilot
Total flight hours: More than 3,400
Combat hours: 667
Aircraft flown: T-37, T-38A, F-16
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Air Medal with eight oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Force Achievement Medal
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant - May 2002
First Lieutenant - May 2004
Captain - May 2006
Major - Feb 2012
Lieutenant Colonel - Jan 2016
Colonel - Mar 2021
(Current as of May 2022)