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Col Richard I. Collins is the Vice Commander, Eighth Air Force, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. As a Numbered Air Force of Air Force Global Strike Command, Eighth Air Force provides long-range strike and strategic deterrence to combatant commanders worldwide. "The Mighty Eighth" oversees five bomb wings and a command and control (C2) operations group, comprised of the Air Force’s B-1, B-2 and B-52 bomber forces and E-4B aircraft.


Prior to his assignment with Eighth Air Force, Colonel Collins served as the Commander, 607th Air Support Operations Group, Seventh Air Force, Osan Air Base Republic of Korea. As commander, he was the Senior Air Liaison Officer on Peninsula, responsible for the integration of airpower and weather data between the Republic of Korea and the United States Forces Korea.  In addition, Colonel Collins served as Team Chief, National Airborne Operations Center, Offutt AFB, Nebraska. As the Team Chief, he commanded and exercised the operational control of a 65-member joint alert force for global missions, national-level C2 exercises as well as executed crisis decisions of the President, Secretary of Defense, and CJCS for C2 of military forces across the entire threat spectrum.


Colonel Collins earned his commission in May 1994 through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Southern Illinois University as a Distinguished Graduate. He is a Senior Pilot with over 3000 flying hours and has held a variety of positions in B-2 and E-3 flying units at the Squadron, Group and Wing level. He has deployed in support of Operations NORTHERN WATCH, SOUTHERN WATCH, DESERT FOX, ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and NEW DAWN. Additionally he served as the Chief of Bomber Operations for the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), Deputy Corps ALO for the XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg North Carolina. His command experience includes Detachment one, 548th Combat Training Sq, Ft. Polk Louisiana and Commander 682nd Air Support Operations Squadron, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.


Colonel Collins is married to the former Mrs. Amy Lovas of Ada Minnesota, and they have four children, Chase, Max, Ava, and Lily Sue.



1994 Bachelor of Science, degree, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

2000 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

2004 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

2007 Masters of Business Administration, Touro University, Calif.

2012 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

2014 Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va.



1. September 1994 - April 1995, Student, Euro NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, Sheppard AFB, Texas

2. April 1996 - April 1999, E-3 Aircraft Commander, 963 AACS, Tinker AFB, Okla.

3. April 1999 - August 1999, T-38 Pilot Instructor Training, Randolph AFB, Texas

4. August 1999 - March 2004, Flight Commander, B-2 Instructor Pilot, T-38 Evaluator Pilot, 325th Bomb Sq and 394th Combat Training Sq, Whiteman AFB, Mo.

5. March 2004 - March 2005, Director of Operations, Detachment One, 548th Combat Training Sq, Ft. Polk, La.

6. March  2005  -  February  2006,  Commander,  Detachment  One,  548th   Combat  Training  Sq,  Ft.  Polk, La.

7. February 2006 - June 2007, Chief of Wing Standards and Evaluation, 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman AFB, Mo.

8. June 2007 - July 2008, Director of Operations, 394th Combat Training Sq, Whiteman AFB, Mo.

9. July 2008 - July 2011, Chief of Bomber Operations, Joint Special Operations Command, Ft. Bragg, N.C.

10. June 2011- March 2012, Deputy XVIII Airborne Corps ALO, 18th Air Support Operations Group, Ft Bragg, N.C.

11. March 2012 - July 2014, Commander, 682nd   Air Support Operations Squadron, Ft. Bragg, N.C.

12. July 2014 - May 2015, Joint and Combined War Fighting Instructor, Joint Forces Staff College, Va

13. May 2015 - July 2016, Team Chief, Operations Team Two, National Airborne Operations Center, Offutt AFB, Neb.

14. July 2016 - July 2018, Commander, 607th Air Support Operations Group, Seventh Air Force, Osan AB, Republic of Korea

15. Aug 2018 – present, Vice Commander, Eighth Air Force, Barksdale AFB, La.



Rating: senior pilot

Flight Hours: more than 3000

Combat Hours: 66

Aircraft/Ratings: T-37, T-38, E-3, B-2, E-4B, Parachutist



Legion of Merit

Bronze Star

Defense Meritorious Service Medal

Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters Air Medal

Aerial Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster

Joint Service Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters

Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster

Army Commendation Medal

Air Force Achievement Medal

Army Achievement Medal

Air Force Combat Action Medal

Presidential Unit Citation



Second Lieutenant: July 22, 1994

First Lieutenant: July 22, 1996

Captain: July 22, 1998

Major: January 1, 2005

Lieutenant Colonel: December 1, 2009

Colonel: February 1, 2016


(Current as of Aug 2018)