Lt. Gen. William Welser III is Commander, 18th Air Force, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. As Air Mobility Command’s warfighting numbered air force, 18th Air Force is responsible for tasking and executing all air mobility missions. It consists of 12 AMC wings, three AMC groups, two Expeditionary Mobility Task Forces and the Tanker Airlift Control Center.
General Welser was born in Mineola, N.Y., and received his commission through the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Buffalo in 1971. He began his career as an aircraft maintenance officer before attending flight training and earning his wings in 1975. The general has held numerous staff positions, to include joint operations, and has commanded at squadron, wing and headquarters levels.
In 1994, General Welser served as the Vice Commander, then later, Commander of the Tanker Airlift Control Center, coordinating all tanker and strategic airlift transportation issues within AMC’s sole Air and Space Operations Center. He directed tanker and airlift assets supporting contingency operations during Support Hope, Uphold Democracy, Joint Endeavor, Phoenix Scorpion I/II, Joint Guardian, Northern Watch and Southern Watch. In 2001, General Welser served as the Operations and Logistics Director for U.S. Transportation Command where he led transportation operations supporting the U.S. response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In that role, he acted as the Defense Department’s chief mobility architect for the air and ground war during operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, directing all transportation requirements for U.S. forces and providing support for numerous coalition partners, while also enabling homeland defense during Operation Noble Eagle.
General Welser is a command pilot, having logged more than 3,500 hours in the C-5 Galaxy, C-141 Starlifter, KC-10 Extender, T-1 Jayhawk, and more than 20 other aircraft while serving in Air Education and Training Command.
1971 Bachelor's degree in biology, University of Buffalo
1977 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
1980 Air Command and Staff College, by seminar
1981 Master's degree in personnel management, Webster University
1982 Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va.
1988 National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
1994 Executive Development Program, Whittemore School of Business and Economics, University of New Hampshire
1999 Joint Force Air Component Commander Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2001 Joint Flag Officer Warfighter Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
1. September 1971 - February 1972, student, Maintenance Officer Course, Chanute AFB, Ill.
2. February 1972 - September 1973, flight line maintenance supervisor, 631st Organizational Maintenance Squadron, Norton AFB, Calif.
3. September 1973 - August 1974, F-4 branch chief and job control duty officer, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand
4. September 1974 - November 1975, student, flight training, Hondo AFB, Texas, and Columbus AFB, Miss.
5. December 1975 - July 1979, C-141 pilot and crew controller, 20th Military Airlift Squadron, Charleston AFB, S.C.
6. July 1979 - January 1982, initial cadre, U.S. Air Force Officer Retention Group, Air Force Manpower and Personnel Center, Randolph AFB, Texas
7. January 1982 - June 1982, student, Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va.
8. June 1982 - June 1983, C-141 instructor pilot and assistant chief pilot, 6th Military Airlift Squadron, McGuire AFB, N.J.
9. June 1983 - April 1985, Chief of Airlift Management, later, Chief of Wing Current Operations, 438th Military Airlift Wing, McGuire AFB, N.J.
10. April 1985 - July 1987, operations officer, later, Commander, 6th Military Airlift Squadron, McGuire AFB, N.J.
11. July 1987 - June 1988, student, National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
12. June 1988 - August 1990, special assistant for General and Flag Officer Matters, Office of the Director, the Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.
13. August 1990 - August 1992, Vice Commander, 443rd Airlift Wing, Altus AFB, Okla.
14. August 1992 - July 1994, Commander, 436th Airlift Wing, Dover AFB, Del.
15. August 1994 - August 1997, Vice Commander, later, Commander, Tanker Airlift Control Center, Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Scott AFB, Ill.
16. August 1997 - August 1999, Commander, Air Mobility Warfare Center, Fort Dix, N.J.
17. August 1999 - July 2001, Director of Operations, Headquarters AETC, Randolph AFB, Texas
18. July 2001 - February 2003, Director of Operations and Logistics, Headquarters USTRANSCOM, Scott AFB, Ill.
19. February 2003 - November 2003, Director of Operations, Headquarters USTRANSCOM, Scott AFB, Ill.
20. December 2003 - present, Commander, 18th Air Force, Scott AFB, Ill.
Rating: Command pilot
Flight hours: More than 3,500
Aircraft flown: C-5A/B, C-141A/B, KC-10 and T-1
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Southwest Asia Service Medal with two bronze stars
Humanitarian Service Medal with bronze star
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant Sept. 6, 1971
First Lieutenant March 6, 1973
Captain Sept. 6, 1975
Major Nov. 1, 1981
Lieutenant Colonel March 1, 1985
Colonel Oct. 1, 1989
Brigadier General Aug. 1, 1995
Major General July 1, 1998
Lieutenant General Dec. 1, 2003
(Current as of May 2005)