Col. Paul P. Townsend is the Commander, 354th Fighter Wing, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. He is responsible for delivering fifth generation combat airpower to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. He supplies a dedicated fourth generation Alert Fighter Cell for the North American Aerospace Defense Command-Northern Command Homeland Defense mission. He also provides high-end, multi-domain combat training to U.S. and international partners via RED FLAG-Alaska, a premier multinational large-force training exercise.
Col. Townsend entered the Air Force in 2000 after earning his commission from the United States Air Force Academy. He has flown the F-15C in operational and operational test fighter assignments in the Pacific Air Forces and Air Combat Command. He has served as a staff officer for the Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisitions. During his career Col. Townsend served as a Flight Commander, Division Commander, Program Element Monitor, F-15C Instructor Pilot, F-15C Flight Examiner, F-15C Weapons Officer at both the squadron and wing level, Director of Operations, and Squadron Commander.
Prior to assuming his current position, Col Townsend was the Vice Commander of the 48th Fighter Wing at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England. He is a command pilot with more than 2,000 hours.
2000 Bachelor of Science, Environmental Engineering, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
2005 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2007 U.S. Air Force Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev.
2011 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2012 Master of Science, Strategic Intelligence, National Intelligence University, Joint Base AnacostiaBolling, Washington, D.C.
2014 Master of Business Administration, Indiana University, Bloomington
2015 Master of Science, Finance, Indiana University, Bloomington
2019 Master of Science, National Resource Strategy, Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.
1. December 2000 - December 2001, Student, undergraduate pilot training, Laughlin Air Force Base, Tex.
2. January 2002 - March 2002, Student, introduction to fighter fundamentals, Moody AFB, Ga.
3. April 2002 - October 2002, Student, 1st Fighter Squadron, Tyndall AFB, Fla.
4. December 2002 - October 2005, F-15C Instructor Pilot, 67th Fighter Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan
5. December 2005 - January 2007, F-15C Instructor Pilot & Flight Commander, 58th Fighter Squadron, Eglin AFB, Fla.
6. January 2007 - March 2007, Student, U.S. Air Force Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev.
7. March 2007 - September 2007, F-15C Instructor Pilot & Chief of Weapons, 60th Fighter Squadron, Eglin AFB, Fla.
8. September 2007 - December 2007, Student, U.S. Air Force Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev.
9. December 2007 - October 2008, F-15C Weapons Officer, 58th Fighter Squadron, Eglin AFB, Fla.
10. October 2008 - October 2010, F-15C Operational Test and Evaluation Instructor Pilot, F-15C Evaluator Pilot, and F-15C Division Commander, 422d Test and Evaluation Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nev.
11. November 2010 - July 2011, F-15C Operational Test and Evaluation Instructor Pilot, F-15C Evaluator Pilot, and Advanced Programs Division Commander, 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nev.
12. August 2011 - June 2012, Student, National Intelligence University, JB Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C.
13. June 2012 - July 2014, Program Element Monitor and Branch Chief, Special Programs, Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisitions, Pentagon, Va.
14. July 2014 - May 2016, Chief of Wing Weapons and Tactics and Director of Operations, 18th Operational Support Squadron and 44th Fighter Squadron, Kadena AB, Japan
15. May 2016 – June 2018, Commander, 18th Operations Support Squadron, Kadena AB, Japan
16. August 2018 – June 2019, Student, Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.
17. June 2019 – June 2021, Chief, Iran Branch, Joint Staff Directorate for Strategy, Plans, and Policy (J5), Deputy Directorate Middle East (DDME), Pentagon, Va.
18. July 2021 – June 2023, Vice Commander, 48th Fighter Wing, RAF Lakenheath, England
19. June 2023 – Present, Commander, 354th Fighter Wing, Eielson AFB, Alaska
Rating: command pilot
Flight hours: more than 2,000
Aircraft flown: T-37, T-38, F-15C/E and F-35
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Legion of Merit
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant May 31, 2000
First Lieutenant May 31, 2002
Captain May 31, 2004
Major February 1, 2010
Lieutenant Colonel February 1, 2015
Colonel January 1, 2021
(Current as of June 2023)