Colonel Kevin Merrill is the Commander, 919th Special Operations Wing, United States Air Force Reserve, Duke Field, Fla. The 919th SOW provides 1,300 Citizen Air Commandos trained to perform the Air Force’s Expeditionary Combat Support mission as well as its Combat Aviation Advisor and Non-Standard Aviation programs utilizing C-145A and C-146A aircraft. Airmen assigned to Duke Field conduct flight instruction and deploy as required in the U-28, AC-130U, C-145A and C-146A aircraft. The wing also employs the MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft in support of combatant commanders worldwide.
Prior to assuming his current position, Colonel Merrill was the Commander, 459th Operations Group, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. He led three squadrons that provided for the 459th Air Refueling Wing's conventional and nonconventional air refueling and aeromedical evacuation capability. He ensured 12 KC-135 crews, 15 aeromedical evacuation teams and support functions were combat-ready to provide worldwide airlift, air refueling and aeromedical evacuation capability to meet the nation's Global Reach requirements.
Colonel Merrill received his commission from the United States Air Force Academy in 1995. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School and is a command pilot with more than 3,600 hours in the T-37A, UH-1H, HH-60G, and KC-135R. Colonel Merrill has deployed on several occasions in support of Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom where he flew combat and combat support sorties to include rescue alert, personnel recovery, special operations support, and casualty evacuation missions.
1995 Bachelor of Science in Management, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
2000 Squadron Officer's School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2000 Master of Business Administration, Regis University, Denver, Colo.
2002 United States Air Force Weapons Instructor Course, Nellis AFB, Nev.
2005 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
2008 Air War College, by correspondence
2011 Reserve Component National Security Course, National Defense University, Ft. McNair, D.C.
2013 Theater Security Decision Making Course, US Naval War College, Newport, R.I.
2013 Joint Maritime Operations Course, US Naval War College, Newport, R.I.
2015 National Security Fellow, JFK School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
2017 NATO Senior Reserve Officer's Course, NATO School, Oberammergau, Germany
2017 Joint Combined Warfighting School (Hybrid) Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va.
2018 NATO Senior Officer Policy Course, NATO School, Oberammergau, Germany
2019 NATO Reserve Forces Integration Course, NATIO School, Oberammergau, Germany
2019 AFRC Group and Wing Commander’s Course, Robins Air Force Base, Ga.
2019 USAF Group Commander’s and Senior Material Leader’s Course, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2019 USAF Senior Leader Mission Generation Course, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2019 USAF Wing & Vice Commander Seminar, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2019 USAF Wing Executive Level Response Course, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
1. June 1995 – March 1996, Business Process Analyst, Headquarters Air Force Space Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
2. April 1996 – January 1998, Student, Specialized Undergraduate Pilot training, Columbus AFB, Miss. and Ft. Rucker, Ala.
3. February 1998 – August 1998, Weapons and Tactics Liaison Officer/Pilot, 56th Rescue Squadron, Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland
4. September 1998 – July 2000, Chief of Current Operations and Scheduling/Aircraft Commander, 56th RQS, NAS Keflavik, Iceland
5. August 2000 – December 2001, Chief of Current Operations/Instructor Pilot, 41st RQS, Moody AFB, Ga. (November 2000 – February 2001, Pilot, Operation SOUTHERN WATCH)
6. January 2002 – June 2002, Student, USAF Weapons Instructor Course, HH-60 Division, Nellis AFB, Nev.
7. July 2002 – July 2003, Chief of Weapons & Tactics/Evaluator Pilot, 41st RQS, Moody AFB, Ga. (July 2002 – October 2002, January 2003 – March 2003, Flight Lead, Weapons Officer, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM)
8. August 2003 – July 2005, Flight Commander/Evaluator Pilot, 55th RQS, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. (January 2004 – April 2004, Flight Lead, Flight Commander, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM; October 2004 – February 2005, Flight Lead, Flight Commander, Operation IRAQI FREEDOM)
9. July 2005 – April 2007, Chief of Weapons & Tactics/Evaluator Pilot, 305th RQS, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. (December 2006 – March 2007, Director of Operations, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM)
10. May 2007 – March 2010, Aircraft Operations Officer, Stan/Eval Branch/HH-60 Functional Area Manager, NAS Fort Worth JRB, Texas (May 2008 – September 2008, Director of Operations, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM)
11. April 2010 – July 2012, Director of Operations, 305th RQS, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. (January 2012 – June 2012, Director of Operations, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM)
12. July 2012 – June 2014, Commander, 305th RQS, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.
13. July 2014 – June 2015, National Security Fellow, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Mass.
14. July 2015 – March 2016, Executive Officer to the Chief, Air Force Reserve and Commander, Air Force Reserve Command, Headquarters Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
15. March 2016 – July 2018, Senior Policy Advisor for the Air Force Reserve to the Reserve Forces Policy Board, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C.
16. July 2018 – August 2019, Commander, 459th Operations Group, Joint Base Andrews, Md.
17. August 2019 – Present, Commander, 919th Special Operations Wing, Eglin AFB Field 3 (Duke Field), Fla.
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. March 2016 - July 2018, Senior Policy Advisor for the Air Force Reserve to the Reserve Forces Policy Board, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C.
Rating: Command Pilot
Flight hours: more than 3,600
Aircraft Flown: T-37A, UH-1H, HH-60G
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Superior Service Medal
Distinguished Flying Cross
Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with seven devices
Air Medal with eleven devices
Aerial Achievement Medal with two devices
Air Force Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal
Air Force Combat Action Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with four devices
Iraq Campaign Medal
DATES OF PROMOTIONS
Second Lieutenant May 31, 1995
First Lieutenant May 31, 1997
Captain May 31, 1999
Major Aug. 1, 2005
Lieutenant Colonel Aug. 20, 2010
Colonel July 13, 2015
(Current as of August 2019)