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Colonel Nicolas W. Henschel

Col Nicolas Henschel is currently serving as the Director of Operations at Illinois Air National Guard Joint Force Headquarters at Camp Lincoln, Illinois. He is the principal adviser to the Adjutant General, Assistant Adjutant General for Air, and Chief of Staff for Air on all operational and combat readiness issues across the three air wings in Illinois. He assumed this position on 1 July 2020.
Prior to his current assignment, Colonel Henschel served for 18 years in the 126th Air Refueling Wing as Drill Status Guardsman, Evaluator Pilot, Squadron Commander, and Director of Operations among others. With 8 primary assigned KC-135R aircraft, the 126th Air Refueling Wing executes worldwide air refueling, airlift, and aeromedical evacuation operations while supporting a wide range of conventional and nuclear war plans.
Colonel Henschel received a congressional nomination to attend the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York. He graduated in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in Logistics & Intermodal Transportation, a United States Coast Guard Third Mate’s License, and a commission in the Illinois Air National Guard. He has spent his entire military career in the Illinois Air National Guard supporting multiple humanitarian disasters and several overseas contingency operations including; NOBLE EAGLE, IRAQI FREEDOM, ENDURING FREEDOM, ODYSSEY DAWN, UNIFIED PROTECTOR, INHERENT RESOLVE and FREEDOM’S SENTINEL.
In addition to his military career, Colonel Henschel also serves in the Intelligence Community as a Senior Executive with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). He has managed several large DoD programs, executed congressional budgets up to $120M, and led many large teams. He also served on a 1-year Joint Duty Assignment at Headquarters Air Mobility Command as the Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (A2) Deputy Director. He is currently serving as Director for the Office of Geomatics within the Foundation GEOINT Group.
2002 Bachelor of Science Degree, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
2008 Squadron Officer School (SOS), Air University via Correspondence
2012 Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Science, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
2015 Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), Air University via Correspondence
2017 Air War College (AWC), Air University via Correspondence
1. July 1998 – June 2002, Midshipman, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, NY
2. June 2001 – July 2001, Cadet, AFROTC Field Training, Tyndall AFB, FL
3. June 2003 – July 2004, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Columbus AFB, MS
4. August 2004 – February 2005, KC-135E Pilot Initial Qualification, Altus AFB, OK
5. November 2005 – October 2007, Deputy Director of Operations, TACC, Scott AFB, IL
6. July 2008 – September 2008, KC-135R Aircraft Commander Qualification, Altus AFB, OK
7. March 2013 – April 2013, KC-135R Flight Instructor Qualification, Altus AFB, OK
8. July 2014 – December 2015, Assistant Flight Commander, 108th ARS, Scott AFB, IL
9. Jan 2016 – February 2017, Flight Commander, 108th ARS, Scott AFB, IL
10. March 2017 – July 2017, Deputy Director of Operations, 108th ARS, Scott AFB, IL
11. August 2017 – March 2018, Director of Operations, 108th ARS, Scott AFB, IL
12. March 2018 – July 2020, Commander, 126th OSS, Scott AFB, IL
Rating: Command Pilot
Flight Hours: Over 2800 hours
Aircraft Flown KC-135E/R/T, T-1, T-37
Air Force Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal
Aerial Achievement Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal
Meritorious Unit Award
AF Outstanding Unit Award
Combat Readiness Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal
Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon
AF Longevity Service
Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Ribbon
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
AF Training Ribbon
Second Lieutenant May 24, 2002
First Lieutenant May 24, 2004
Captain May 24, 2006
Major November 5, 2011
Lieutenant Colonel February 6, 2016
Colonel October 9, 2020