Col. Vincent J. O’Connor is the Vice Commander, 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy. With approximately 4,200 Active Duty military members, nearly 300 U.S. civilians and 700 Italian civilian employees, the wing conducts and supports air combat operations and maintains munitions for NATO. The Wing’s diverse mission sets are executed by Airmen that fly, maintain, and support two F-16CM Fighter Squadrons, two Combat Search and Rescue Squadrons with Pararescue Airmen and HH-60 Pave Hawks, USAFE’s only Air Control Squadron, Agile Combat Support Squadrons, Medical Squadrons and numerous Wing Staff Agencies.
Col. O’Connor received his commission from the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Notre Dame in 2001, and earned his wings at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, in 2003. During operational F-16 tours both stateside and overseas, Col. O’Connor has served as a Squadron Commander, Director of Operations, Chief of Wing Standardization and Evaluation, Flight Commander, F-16 Flight Examiner, and F-16 Instructor Pilot. Prior to this assignment, Col. O’Connor was the Chief, Force Application Division, Joint Staff, J8, Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
Col. O’Connor is a command pilot with more than 2,700 flying hours in the T-37, T-38, AT-38 and F-16C/D. He has flown over 750 combat hours in support of Operation FREEDOM’S SENTINEL and NATO’s RESOLUTE SUPPORT mission.
2001 Bachelor of Arts, History and English, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind.
2002 Aerospace Basic Course, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2008 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2010 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2011 Master of Arts, American History, American Military University, Charles Town, W. Va.
2019 Master of Science, National Security Strategy, National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
1. February 2002 – August 2002, student, Introduction to Flight Training, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.
2. August 2002 – September 2003, student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Sheppard AFB, Texas
3. February 2004 – January 2005, student, F-16 pilot training, Springfield-Beckly Air National Guard Base, Ohio
4. January 2005 – November 2007, F-16 Flight Lead, Electronic Combat Pilot, Cannon AFB, N.M.
5. November 2007 – July 2011, F-16 Instructor/Evaluator Pilot, Flight Commander, Luke AFB, Ariz.
6. July 2011 – July 2014, F-16 Instructor/Evaluator Pilot, Executive Officer to the Seventh Air Force Commander, Chief of Wing Standardization and Evaluation, Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea
7. July 2014 – July 2018, F-16 Instructor/Evaluator Pilot, Director of Operations, 31st Operations Support Squadron; Director of Operations, 555th Fighter Squadron; and Commander, 555th Fighter Squadron, Aviano AB, Italy
8. July 2018 – June 2019, Student, National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
9. June 2019 – May 2021, Chief, Force Application Division, Joint Staff, J8, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
10. May 2021 – present, Vice Commander, 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano AB, Italy
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. June 2019 – May 2021, Chief, Force Application Division, Joint Staff, J8, Pentagon, Washington, D.C., as a colonel
Rating: Command Pilot
Flight hours: more than 2,700
Aircraft flown: T-37, T-38, AT-38, and F-16C/D
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Superior Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster Air Force Achievement Medal
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant October 3, 2001
First Lieutenant October 3, 2003
Captain October 3, 2005
Major November 1, 2011
Lieutenant Colonel January 1, 2016
Colonel June 1, 2019
(Current as of May 2021)