Colonel Charles “Dan” Cooley is the Commander, 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The wing provides en route aircraft maintenance, command and control, air transportation services, expeditionary aircrew support, and aeromedical evacuation for theater and strategic U.S. Transportation Command taskings. As the commander, Colonel Cooley is responsible for nearly 2,000 deployed and permanent party Total Force Mobility Airmen organized in two groups with 19 operating locations spanning 5,000 miles across Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia.
Colonel Cooley received his commission in 1999 through the Reserve Officer Training Corps as a graduate of West Virginia University. He has served in a variety of staff positions at the 618th Air Operations Center, Air Mobility Command, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, United States Congress, and the personal office of the Secretary of Defense. His career also consists of numerous leadership positions to include Commander, 62nd Operations Support Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., and Commander, 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron at Thumrait Air Base, Oman. Prior to this command, he served as the Vice Commander, then Commander, 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
Colonel Cooley is a command pilot with more than 3,000 total flight hours and more than 1,000 combat/combat support flight hours in the C-17 and KC-135 R/T aircraft. He has deployed and supported Operations NEW DAWN, IRAQI FREEDOM, ENDURING FREEDOM, NOBLE EAGLE and SOUTHERN WATCH.
1999 Bachelor of Arts, West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.Va.
1999 Aerospace Basic Course, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2004 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2006 Master of Aeronautical Science, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
2012 Legislative Fellowship, Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University, Washington D.C.
2018 Master of Science, National Security Strategy, National War College, Fort McNair, Washington D.C.
2020 Director of Mobility Forces Course, Hurlburt Field, Fla.
2022 Center for Creative Leadership, Colorado Spring, Co
1. June 1999–May 2000, Scheduler, 47th Airlift Flight, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
2. May 2000–November 2001, Student, Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Laughlin AFB, Texas
3. November 2001–June 2005, KC-135 Instructor Pilot, Operations Group Executive Officer, 906th Air Refueling Squadron, Grand Forks AFB, N.D.
4. June 2005–June 2006, New Requirements Air Refueling Director, Tanker/Airlift Control Center, Scott AFB, Ill.
5. June 2006–July 2008, Action Officer and Speech Writer, Commander’s Action Group, Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Scott AFB, Ill.
6. July 2008–July 2011, C-17 Instructor Pilot, Chief Wing Executive Officer and Assistant Director of Operations, 3rd Airlift Squadron, Dover AFB, Del.
7. July 2011–December 2011, Air Force Legislative Fellow, DARPA, Office of Congressional Affairs, Arlington, Va.
8. January 2012–April 2013, Air Force Legislative Fellow, United States House of Representatives, Washington D.C.
9. April 2013–July 2013, C-17 Instructor Pilot, Director of Staff, 10th Airlift Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
10. July 2013–May 2015, Commander, 62nd Operations Support Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (Commander, 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, Thumrait AB, Oman)
11. May 2015–July 2017, Military Assistant to the Executive Secretary, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Pentagon, Washington D.C.
12. August 2017–June 2018, Student, National War College, Fort McNair, Washington D.C.
13. June 2018–June 2020, U.S. Transportation Command Liaison to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Camp Smith, Hawaii
14. June 2020–February 2022, Vice Commander, 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing (AMC), Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii
15. February 2022–June 2022, Commander, 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing (AMC), Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii
16. July 2022–Present, Commander, 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing, Ramstein AB, Germany
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. May 2015–July 2017, Military Assistant to the Executive Secretary, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Pentagon, Washington D.C., as a lieutenant colonel
2. June 2018–June 2020, U.S. Transportation Command Liaison to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Camp Smith, Hawaii, as a colonel
Rating: Command Pilot
Flight hours: More than 3,000
Aircraft Flown: T-37B, T-1A, KC-135R/T, C-17A
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
(Current as of July 2022)