Colonel Kevin Merrill is the Mobilization Assistant to the Director of Operations, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Florida. He assists the Director in implementing and directing operational command policy for AFSOC’s worldwide special operations units including 20,800 personnel, approximately 300 aircraft and $17 billion in assets.
Prior to assuming his current position, Colonel Merrill was the Commander, 919th Special Operations Wing, United States Air Force Reserve, Duke Field, Fla. The 919th SOW provides over 1,800 Citizen Air Commandos trained to perform a variety of missions in support of Air Force Special Operations Command, United States Special Operations Command, and geographic combatant commanders worldwide utilizing the U-28, AC-130J, MC-130H, C-145A, C-146A and MQ-9 aircraft.
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 3,700 hours in multiple aircraft. Colonel Merrill has deployed on several occasions in support of Operations SOUTHERN WATCH, ENDURING FREEDOM, and IRAQI FREEDOM. His most recent deployment was in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE as the Commander, Joint Special Operations Air Component – Central, Commander, 27th Expeditionary Special Operations Wing, and Director, Special Operations Liaison Element.
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
2018 NATO Reserve Forces Integration Course, NATO School, Oberammergau, Germany
2021 Seminar XXI, Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.
1. June 1995 – March 1996, Business Process Analyst, HQ AFSPC/IMI, Peterson AFB, Colo.
2. April 1996 – January 1998, Student, Specialized Undergraduate Pilot training, Columbus AFB, MS and Ft. Rucker, Ala.
3. February 1998 – August 1998, Weapons and Tactics Liaison Officer/Pilot, 56th RQS, NAS 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 – July 2021, Commander, 919th Special Operations Wing, Eglin Field 3 (Duke Field), Fla.
18. July 2021 – Present, Mobilization Assistant to the Director of Operations, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla. (August 2021 – January 2022, Commander, Joint Special Operations Air Component – Central, Commander, 27th Expeditionary Special Operations Wing, and Director, Special Operations Liaison Element, Operation INHERENT RESOLVE)
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. March 2016 – July 2018, Senior Policy Advisor for the Air Force Reserve to the Reserve Forces Policy Board (United States Staff Officer, NATO National Reserve Forces Committee), Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C., as a colonel
2. August 2021 – January 2022, Commander, Joint Special Operations Air Component – Central, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, as a colonel
Rating: Command Pilot
Flight hours: More than 3,700, including 367 combat hours
Aircraft Flown: T-37A, UH-1H, HH-60G, EH-60A, F-16D, MC-130E, HC-130P, E-3B, KC-135R, C-145A, C-146A, C-208, AC-130J
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with seven oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with eleven oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal
Air Force Combat Action Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with four devices
Iraq Campaign Medal
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
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 June 2022)