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(Archived - Former vice commander of the 507th Air Refueling Wing - Left the 507th ARW in May 2019) Col. Dana N. Nelson is the Vice Commander of the 507th Air Refueling Wing, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Col. Nelson is responsible for the wartime readiness, training and equipping of more than 1,100 personnel in the largest Air Force Reserve flying unit in the state. She directs a staff of Air Reserve Technicians, Traditional Reservists, AGRs and civilians employed in the operations, maintenance, and support groups and a medical squadron. She supervises the strategic planning/execution of policies and procedures, ensuring resources are effectively employed to meet Air Mobility Command, United States Strategic Command and Air Education and Training Command requirements.

Col. Nelson received her commission in 1990 following graduation from the United States Air Force Academy. She began her flying career at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. While on active duty, Col. Nelson flew various models of KC-135s for more than 10 years. In 2002, she joined the Air Force Reserve with the Defense Intelligence Agency as a Foreign Area Air Attaché. She served as an attaché in Slovenia, as an analyst at the Joint Intelligence Center, U.S. Transportation Command and as the Chief of the Survey Analysis Center in Doha, Qatar. In 2005, she joined the 459th Air Refueling Wing, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, holding various leadership positions to include Chief of Training, Chief of the Exercise Evaluation Team, flight commander and commander of the 756th Air Refueling Squadron. While stationed at Andrews, she also volunteered for several tours at Air Force Headquarters working in Information Operations and Special Access Programs and further volunteered for a DIA Air Attaché tour to Suva, Fiji.


Col. Nelson is a veteran of Operations Southern Watch, Allied Force, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, New Dawn and numerous other operations and contingencies in support of the nation’s security strategy. Prior to her current assignment, Col. Nelson served as an Individual Mobilization Augmentee to the Chief, Air Advisor Branch, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Maryland. In her civilian capacity, the colonel is a pilot with a major airline.



1990 Bachelor of Science degree in History, United States Air Force Academy, Colo.

1996 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala. (Residence and Correspondence)

1998 Master of Arts degree in Human Relations, University of Oklahoma, Okla.

2002 Reserve Attaché Course, Joint Military Attaché School, Bolling AFB, Md.

2006 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence

2011 Leadership Today & Tomorrow, Washington, D.C.

2014 Air War College, by correspondence

2014 Reserve Component National Security Course, National Defense University, Washington, D.C.






1. September 1990 - September 1991, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Enid Air Force Base, Okla.



2. January 1992 - April 1992, KC-135R Combat Crew Training School, Castle Air Force Base, Calif.
3. April 1992 - August 1996, Copilot/Aircraft Commander, KC-135R/T/Q, 19th Air Refueling Wing, Robins AFB, Ga.
4. August 1996 - December 1999, Chief of Mission Development/Coronet Planner, KC-135R/T Instructor/Evaluator
pilot, 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom
5. January 2000 - January 2001, Flight Commander/Combat Crew Training Schoolhouse Instructor, KC-135R, Altus
AFB, Okla.
6. October 2002 - March 2005, Foreign Area Attaché, Defense Intelligence Agency, Bolling AFB, Washington, D.C.
7. March 2005 - September 2013, Instructor Pilot/Chief of Training/Flight Commander/Chief, Exercise and Evaluation
Team, 459th Air Refueling Wing, Joint Base Andrews, Md.
8. September 2013 – July 2015, Commander, 756th Air Refueling Squadron, Joint Base Andrews, Md.
9. July 2015 – September 2016, IMA to the Chief, Air Advisor Branch, Headquarters Air Force, Joint Base
Anacostia-Bolling, Md.
10 September 2016 – May 2019, Vice Commander, 507th Air Refueling Wing, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.




Military Rating: Command pilot

Flight Hours: More than 5,000 hours in various military and civilian aircraft

Military Aircraft Flown: T-37, T-38, C-12F, KC-135R/T/RT/Q

Civilian Aircraft Flown: Boeing 737/757/767



Defense Meritorious Service Medal

Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters

Air Medal with oak leaf cluster

Aerial Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters

Air Force Commendation Medal

Joint Service Achievement Medal



Women in Aviation International

Women Military Aviators

Air Line Pilots Association



Second Lieutenant May 30, 1990

First Lieutenant May 30, 1992

Captain May 30, 1994

Major Oct. 1, 2003

Lieutenant Colonel Aug. 11, 2009

Colonel July 1, 2015


(Current as of February 2019)