Col. Stephen J. Nester is the vice wing commander of the 442d Fighter Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo. The wing is an Air Force Reserve A-10 Thunderbolt II unit. As vice wing commander, he is responsible for the manning, training and combat readiness for approximately 1,300 Air Force reservists at Whiteman AFB and one geographically separated unit: the 476th Fighter Group at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. He recently led the J35 South RC team in exercise Vigilant Shield, a United State Northern Command multiservice and multinational exercise.
Col. Nester received his commission from Officer Candidate School in February 1992 and entered the Air Force Reserve subsequently at Grissom Air Force Base, Indiana. He is a veteran of numerous combat operations and contingencies in support of national objectives.
Col. Nester is a command pilot with more than 3000 hours in the A-10 attack aircraft, and has flown in support of Operations DENY FLIGHT, SOUTHERN WATCH, NORTHERN WATCH, IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM. In Col. Nester’s civilian career, he is employed by a major airline as a 777 first officer.
1991 Bachelor of Science, Southern Illinois University
1999 Squadron Officer School, by correspondence, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2002 Air to Ground Operation School, Nellis AFB, Nev.
2010 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2015 Army War College & Master’s Degree, by correspondence, Carlisle Barracks, Penn.
- February 1992–February 1993, Student Pilot, undergraduate pilot training, Reese AFB, Texas
- May 1993–August 1993, A-10 Student Pilot, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.
- August 1993–August 1994, A-10 Pilot, 45th Fighter Squadron, Grissom AFB, Ind. (Aviano Air Base, Italy in support of Operation Deny Flight)
- August 1994–August 2001, A-10 Pilot, Aircrew Flight Equipment Officer, 303d Fighter Squadron, Whiteman AFB, Mo. (Aviano AB, Italy, Al Jaber, Kuwait, Incirlik AB, Turkey in support of Operation Deny Flight, Southern Watch, and Northern Watch as a first lieutenant and a captain.)
- August 2001–August 2008, A-10 Flight Commander, 303d Fighter Squadron, Whiteman AFB, Mo. (Tallil AB, Iraq, Kirkuk AB, Iraq, and Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom as a captain and a major)
- August 2008–September 2011, A-10 Assistant Deputy of Operations, 303d Fighter Squadron, Whiteman AFB, Mo. (Operation Enduring Freedom, Bagram AF, Afghanistan, as a major)
- August 2011–September 2013, Commander, 303d Fighter Squadron, Whiteman AFB, Mo. (Operation Enduring Freedom, Kandahar AB and Bagram AF, Afghanistan, as a lieutenant colonel)
- September 2013–September 2016, Deputy Group Commander, 442d Operations Group, Whiteman AFB, Mo.
- September 2016–September 2018, J7 and J35 Senior Joint Operations Officer, Hampton Roads/Suffolk, Va.
- September 2018–December 2020, Vice Wing Commander, 442d Fighter Wing, Whiteman AFB, Mo.
- December 2020-Present, Mobilization Assistant to PACAF A3, Joint Base Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Rating: Command Pilot
Flight hours: More than 3000
Aircraft flown: T-38, A-10 and OA-10
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with ten oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal
Air Force Combat Action Medal
Meritorious Unit Award with one oak leaf cluster
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Combat Readiness Medal
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTIONS
Second Lieutenant Feb. 12, 1992
First Lieutenant March 15, 1994
Captain Oct. 8, 1998
Major April 20, 2005
Lieutenant Colonel Aug. 23, 2011
Colonel Sept. 1, 2016
(Current as of April 2021)