Colonel Christopher M. Welch is the Commander, 19th Operations Group, Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. In this capacity, he leads three squadrons projecting and sustaining agile combat airlift forces to meet combatant commanders’ global requirements. Additionally, Colonel Welch is responsible for operating the installation’s airfield and enabling operations support to Air Mobility Command, Air Education and Training Command, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, and U.S. Air Force Weapons School missions across Little Rock AFB. The 19th Operations Group consists of over 550 personnel and 29 C-130J aircraft executing 16,000 flight hours annually with an operating budget of more than $5.1 million.

Colonel Welch received his commission in 2002 from the ROTC Detachment at Washington State University, Pullman, Washington. He initially served as a Logistics Readiness Officer at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas until February of 2005. He then completed his undergraduate pilot training at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma in 2006. He has served 22 years and is a senior pilot with more than 3,300 flight hours in the KC-10A and C-130J, including over 1,300 combat hours in Operations ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and NEW DAWN. He has served in a variety of positions at the squadron, wing, and headquarters levels including the Director of the Commander’s Action Group at Air Mobility Command Headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Prior to his current position, Colonel Welch was the Executive Assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander United States European Command, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Mons, Belgium.

2002 Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, Washington State University, Pullman, Wa.
2002 Aerospace Basic Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2009 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2012 Air Command and Staff College (Correspondence)
2012 Master of Arts in Military History, American Military University, Manassas, Vir.
2016 Spanish Joint Staff College, Madrid, Spain
2016 Master of Arts in Defense Policy and International Security, University
          Complutense of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
2022 Master of Strategic Studies with Grand Strategy Concentration, with Highest
          Academic Distinction, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Alabama

1.  June 2002 – February 2005, Logistics Readiness Officer, 7th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Dyess
      Air Force Base, Tex.
2.  February 2005 – April 2006, Student, pilot training, Vance AFB, Okl.
3.  May 2006 – May 2010, Squadron Executive Officer and KC-10A Instructor Aircraft Commander, 6th
     Air Refueling Squadron, Travis AFB, Cal.
4.  May 2010 – March 2011, Director of Wing Strategic Communication and KC-10A Instructor Aircraft
     Commander, 60th Air Mobility Wing, Travis AFB, Cal.
5.  March 2011 – September 2011, Student, C-130J Pilot Initial Qualification Course, Little Rock AFB,
6.  September 2011 – September 2013, Director of Staff and C-130J Instructor Aircraft Commander,
     41st Airlift Squadron, Little Rock AFB, Ark.
7.  October 2013 – July 2014, Chief, Wing Executive Officer and C-130J Evaluator Aircraft Commander,
     19th Airlift Wing, Little Rock AFB, Ark.
8.  August 2014 – May 2015, Student, Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, Presidio
     of Monterey, Cal.
9.  June 2015 – July 2016, Student, Spanish Joint Staff College, Madrid, Spain
10.  July 2016 – October 2016, Western Hemisphere Country Director, Americas/Africa Division, Office
       of the Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force, International Affairs, The Pentagon, Washington,
11.  November 2016 – July 2017, Country Director, Europe/NATO Division, Office of the Deputy Under
        Secretary of the Air Force, International Affairs, The Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
12.  July 2017 – April 2018, Chief of Safety, 19th Airlift Wing, Little Rock AFB, Ark.
13.  April 2018 – May 2020, Commander, 19th Operations Support Squadron, Little Rock AFB, Ark.
14.  June 2020 – July 2021, Director, Commander’s Action Group, Headquarters Air Mobility
        Command, Scott AFB, Ill.
15.  July 2021 – June 2022, Student, Air War College, Grand Strategy Seminar, Air University, Maxwell
        AFB, ALa.
16.  June 2022 – June 2024, Executive Assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and
        Commander United States European Command, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe,
        Mons, Belgium
17.  June 2024 – Present, Commander, 19th Operations Group, Little Rock AFB, Ark.

1.  June 2022 – June 2024, Executive Assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and
      Commander United States European Command, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe,
      Mons, Belgium as a colonel

Rating: Senior Pilot
Flight hours: More than 3,300
Aircraft flown: KC-10A, C-130J

Supreme Allied Commander Europe Recognition Award
Defense Superior Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Achievement Medal

Senior Pilot Wings
Logistics Readiness Officer, Basic
Foreign Area Officer, Basic

Second Lieutenant May 29, 2002
First Lieutenant May 29, 2004
Captain May 29, 2006
Major June 1, 2012
Lieutenant Colonel December 1, 2016
Colonel July 1, 2022

(Current as of June 2024)