Colonel Christopher J. Niemi is the Commander of the 3rd Wing. (Photo by JBER Public Affairs)
Colonel Christopher J. Niemi is the Commander, 3rd Wing, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The 3rd Wing provides the commander, U.S. Pacific Command, trained and equipped tactical air dominance forces, command and control platforms, and strategic and tactical airlift resources for contingency operations and also provides the commander, U.S. Northern Command, immediate early airborne detection, warning, surveillance and interception of hostile forces within the Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region. The wing flies the F-22, C-17, C-12 and E-3 aircraft and is responsible for over 2,200 assigned Airmen.
Colonel Niemi entered the Air Force in 1993 as a graduate from the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at the Georgia Institute of Technology. During his first F-15E operational assignment at RAF Lakenheath, he served as a combat mission commander during Operation ALLIED FORCE. He attended the USAF Weapons School en route to Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C., where he was selected as one of eight F-22 Initial Operational Test and Evaluation pilots. Colonel Niemi was subsequently assigned to numerous F-22 training, tests, and operational squadrons, after which he served as the Senior Air Force Advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Development, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Prior to taking command of the 3rd Wing, Col Niemi was Commander of the 33rd Operations Group, where he was responsible for leading 390 personnel responsible for training F-35 pilots, Air Battle Managers, and Intelligence personnel assigned to F-35 and AFSOC units. He is a Command Pilot with over 2,900 flying hours.
1993 Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Tech, Atlanta Ga.
1994 Master of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Tech, Atlanta Ga.
1999 F-15E USAF Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev.
2000 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2007 Command and General Staff College, Ft Leavenworth, Kan.
2012 George C. Marshall Center Fellowship, Garmisch, Germany
2014 Joint and Combined Warfighting School, Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va.
1. June 1994 - June 1995, Student, Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Laughlin Air Force Base (AFB), Texas
2. July 1995 - May 1996, Student, F-15E Basic Operational Training Course, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.
3. June 1996 - June 1999, Assistant Chief, Weapons and Tactics, and Squadron Programmer, 492d Fighter Squadron, 48th Fighter Wing, RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom
4. July 1999 - December 1999, Student, F-15E Weapons Instructor Course, Nellis, AFB, Nev.
5. January 2000 - October 2002, Chief, Standardization and Evaluation, Flight Commander, and Chief, Weapons and Tactics, 336th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.
6. November 2002 - September 2004, Chief, F-22 Dedicated initial Operational Test and Evaluation (DIOT&E) Current Operations and Programming, AFOTEC Detachment 6, Edwards AFB, Calif.
7. October 2004 - May 2006, Assistant Director of Operations, 43d Fighter Squadron, 325th Training Wing, Tyndall AFB, Fla.
8. June 2006 - June 2007, Student, Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
9. July 2007 - June 2009, Director of Operations, 90th Fighter Squadron, 3d Wing, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska
10. July 2009 - July 2011, Commander, 525th Fighter Squadron, 3d Wing, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska
11. August 2011 - June 2012, Air Force Fellow, George C. Marshall Center, Garmisch, Germany
12. July 2012 - April 2014, Senior Air Force Advisor, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Force Development, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
13. May 2014 - May 2016 Commander, 33d Operations Group, 33d Fighter Wing, Eglin AFB, Fla.
14. May 2016 - Present, Commander, 3rd Wing, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska
Rating: Command Pilot
Flight Hours: More than 2900
Aircraft Flown: F-15E, F-22, F-35
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Aerial Achievement Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant June 1993
First Lieutenant December 1995
Captain December 1997
Major March 2004
Lieutenant Colonel June 2008
Colonel October 2013
(Current as of May 2016)