Maj. Gen. Christopher J. Bence is Commander, U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. The Expeditionary Center is the Air Force's center of excellence for advanced combat support training and education, while also providing direct oversight for en route and installation support, contingency response and building partner capacity mission sets within the global mobility enterprise. The Expeditionary Center provides operational control of the Expeditionary Operations School and administrative control for five wings and two groups within Air Mobility Command. These units include the 87th Air Base Wing and the 621st Contingency Response Wing at JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey; the 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing at JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; the 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany; the 628th Air Base Wing at JB Charleston, South Carolina; the 43rd Air Mobility Operations Group at Pope Field, North Carolina and the 627th Air Base Group at JB Lewis-McChord, Washington.
General Bence commissioned in 1986 as a distinguished graduate of Air Force ROTC at Washington State University. He has been an aircraft commander, instructor and flight examiner in the KC-135 Stratotanker and C-5 Galaxy, including assignments to Strategic Air Command's Elite Command Crew at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, and Combat Crew Training School at Altus AFB, Oklahoma. General Bence commanded at squadron and group levels, and served as the commander, 376th Air Expeditionary Wing, Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan, and the vice commander, 3rd Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force, Ramstein AB, Germany. He is a graduate of the School of Advanced Airpower Studies, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. General Bence served in various staff positions at AMC and U.S. Transportation Command, Scott AFB, Illinois, the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, and Director of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, United Kingdom, RAF Mildenhall, England.
General Bence is a command pilot with more than 4,600 flying hours in the KC-135, C-5, KC-10 and T-37.
1986 Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering, Washington State University, Pullman
1992 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
1993 Master's Degree in engineering management, Washington State University, Pullman
1997 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
1998 Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies, Naval Command and Staff College, Newport, R.I.
1999 Master's Degree in Airpower Art and Sciences, School of Advanced Airpower Studies, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2000 Air War College, by correspondence
2006 Master of Science degree in National Security Studies, National War College, National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
2009 Air Force Enterprise Leadership Seminar, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
2014 Combined Force Air Component Commander Course, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2015 Generals, Flag Officers and Ambassadors’ Course, NATO Defense College, Rome
2017 Joint Flag Officer Warfighting Course, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
1. October 1986 - October 1987, student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Vance AFB, Okla.
2. November 1987 - March 1988, student, KC-135 Combat Crew Training School, Castle AFB, Calif.
3. April 1988 - March 1991, KC-135A Pilot, Standardization and Evaluation Pilot, Senior Standardization and Evaluation Pilot, and KC-135R Aircraft Commander, Fairchild AFB, Wash.
4. April 1991 - September 1993, KC-135E Aircraft Commander and Instructor Pilot, Strategic Air Command's Command Crew, Offutt AFB, Neb.
5. September 1993 - July 1994, Flight Commander and KC-135R Instructor Aircraft Commander, 306th Air Refueling Squadron, Altus AFB, Okla.
6. July 1994 - July 1997, KC-135R Combat Crew Training School Instructor, Aircraft Commander and Examiner Aircraft Commander, 55th Air Refueling Squadron, and later, Wing Executive Officer, 97th Air Mobility Wing, Altus AFB, Okla.
7. July 1997 - July 1998, student, Naval Command and Staff College, Newport, R.I.
8. July 1998 - July 1999, student, School of Advanced Airpower Studies, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
9. July 1999 - June 2001, Chief, Policy Branch and Deputy Chief Doctrine and Policy Division, Plans and Programs Directorate, Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Scott AFB, Ill.
10. June 2001 - July 2005, Operations Officer and C-5 Instructor Aircraft Commander, 21st Airlift Squadron, Commander, 22nd Airlift Squadron, then Deputy Commander, 60th Operations Group, Travis AFB, Calif. (deployed July 2003 - September 2003, Commander, 781st Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, Moron AB, Spain)
11. August 2005 - June 2006, Student, National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
12. July 2006 - June 2008, Commander, 19th Air Refueling Group, Robins AFB, Ga. (deployed February 2007 - July 2007, Deputy Director of Mobility Forces, Combined Air Operations Center, Southwest Asia)
13. June 2008 - July 2009, Commander, 376th Air Expeditionary Wing, Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan
14. July 2009 - July 2011, Deputy Director, Operations and Plans Directorate, U.S. Transportation Command, Scott AFB, Ill.
15. July 2011 - July 2013, Deputy Director for Operations, Operations Team Two, National Military Command Center, Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
16. July 2013 - April 2014, Director to U.S. Air Forces in Europe-United Kingdom, RAF Mildenhall, England
17. April 2014 – August 2016, Vice Commander, 3rd Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force, Ramstein AB, Germany
18. August 2016 - present, Commander, U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center, JB McGuire-Dix- Lakehurst, N.J.
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. February 2007 - July 2007, Deputy Director of Mobility Forces, Combined Air Operations Center, Southwest Asia, as a colonel
2. July 2009 - July 2011, Deputy Director, Operations and Plans Directorate, U.S. Transportation Command, Scott AFB, Ill., as a colonel and brigadier general
3. July 2011 - July 2013, Deputy Director for Operations, Operations Team Two, National Military Command Center, Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., as a brigadier general
Rating: Command pilot
Flight hours: more than 4,600
Aircraft flown: KC-135A/E/R, C-5A/B/C, KC-10 and T-37
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Achievement Medal
Combat Readiness Medal with three oak leaf clusters
National Defense Service Medal with bronze star
Southwest Asia Service Medal with bronze star
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Air and Space Campaign Medal with bronze star
Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border and two oak leaf clusters
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Government of Kuwait)
Spanish Aeronautic Merit Cross with White Badge
French National Defense Medal Gold Echelon
OTHER AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
United States Ambassador's Distinguished Service Award
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant July 30, 1986
First Lieutenant July 30, 1988
Captain July 30, 1990
Major Sept. 1, 1997
Lieutenant Colonel May 1, 2000
Colonel Feb. 1, 2006
Brigadier General Nov. 17, 2010
Major General July 11, 2014
(Current as of August 2018)