Gen. James B. Hecker is the Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe; Commander, U.S. Air Forces Africa; Commander, Allied Air Command, headquartered at Ramstein Air Base, Germany; and Director, Joint Air Power Competence Centre, Kalkar, Germany. He is responsible for the air and missile defense of 31 NATO alliance member nations while commanding U.S. airpower across more than 19 million square miles. This area includes 104 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, the Arctic, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, possesses more than a quarter of the world’s population and generates more than a quarter of the world’s gross domestic product.
Gen. Hecker was commissioned in 1989 through the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has completed numerous flying, staff and command assignments and is a command pilot with more than more than 3,600 flying hours in the F-15C, F-22, MQ-1B, HH-60, C-208 and T-38C. Prior to his current assignment, Gen. Hecker was the Commander and President of Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
1989 Bachelor of Science, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
1995 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
1996 U.S. Air Force F-15C Weapons Instructor Course, Nellis AFB, Nev.
1999 Master of Science, Aeronautical Sciences, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Fla.
2002 Congressional Legislative Fellow, Washington, D.C.
2007 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2007 Master of Science, Strategic Studies, Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2009 National Security Studies Program, Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
2010 Leadership Enhancement and Development Program, Goldsboro, N.C.
2014 Joint Maritime Component Commander Course, Newport, R.I.
2016 Joint Flag Officer Warfighting Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2017 Joint Force Air Component Commander Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2017 Combined and Joint Force Land Component Commander Course, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pa.
2019 Advanced Senior Leader Development Seminar, Warrenton, Va.
2020 Harvard Seminar for New Presidents, Harvard University, Boston, Mass.
2021 Pinnacle Course, National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
2021 Cyberspace Operations Executive Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
1. October 1989‒November 1990, Student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas
2. November 1990‒March 1991, Student, AT-38 Lead-in Fighter Training, Holloman AFB, N.M.
3. March 1991‒August 1991, Student, F-15 Replacement Training, Tyndall AFB, Fla.
4. August 1991‒May 1992, F-15C Pilot, 8th and 9th Tactical Fighter Squadrons, Holloman AFB, N.M.
5. June 1992‒December 1995, Instructor Pilot, Flight Examiner and Chief, F-15C Standard Evaluation, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho
6. January 1996‒June 1996, Student, F-15C Weapons Instructor Course, Nellis AFB, Nev.
7. July 1996‒August 1998, Weapons Officer, 44th Fighter Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan
8. September 1998‒July 2000, Instructor Pilot, F-15C Weapons Instructor Course, Nellis AFB, Nev.
9. August 2000‒September 2001, Senate Liaison Officer, Office of Legislative Liaison, Secretary of the Air Force, Arlington, Va.
10. October 2001‒October 2002, Capitol Hill Fellowship Program, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
11. November 2002‒June 2003, Assistant Director of Operations, 94th Fighter Squadron, Langley AFB, Va.
12. July 2003‒September 2004, Director of Operations, 27th FS, Langley AFB, Va.
13. October 2004‒May 2006, Commander, 27th FS, Langley AFB, Va.
14. July 2006‒June 2007, Student, Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
15. July 2007‒July 2009, Commander, 3rd Operations Group, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska
16. July 2009‒May 2011, Director of Operations, Operations Directorate, U.S. Forces Japan, Yokota AB, Japan
17. June 2011‒May 2013, Commander, 432nd Wing, 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing, Creech AFB, Nev.
18. May 2013‒April 2015, Commander, 18th Wing, Kadena AB, Japan
19. April 2015‒June 2015, Director of Plans, Programs and Requirements, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley Eustis, Va.
20. June 2015‒March 2017, Commander, 19th Air Force, JB San Antonio-Randolph, Texas
21. April 2017‒May 2018, Commander, 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Afghanistan, and Commander, NATO Air Command-Afghanistan; Director, Air Forces Central Air Component Coordination Element for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and NATO’s Operation Resolute Support and Deputy Commander-Air for U.S. Forces Afghanistan
22. July 2018‒November 2019, Vice Director of Operations, Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
23. November 2019‒June 2022, Commander and President, Air University, Air Education and Training Command, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
24. June 2022‒present, Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe; Commander, Air Forces Africa; Commander, Allied Air Command, headquartered at Ramstein AB, Germany; and Director, Joint Air Power Competency Centre, Kalkar, Germany
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. July 2009‒May 2011, Director of Operations, Operations Directorate, U.S. Forces Japan, Yokota Air Base, Japan, as a colonel
2. April 2017‒May 2018, Commander, 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Afghanistan; Commander, NATO Air Command-Afghanistan; Director, U.S. Air Forces Central Command Air Component Coordination Element for U.S. Forces Afghanistan and NATO’s Operation Resolute Support; and Deputy Commander-Air for U.S. Forces Afghanistan, as a major general
3. July 2018‒November 2019, Vice Director of Operations, Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., as a major general
Rating: command pilot
Flight hours: more than 3,600
Aircraft ﬂown: F-15C, F-22, MQ-1B, HH-60, C-208 and T-38C
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters
Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters and combat “C” device
Aerial Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Force Achievement Medal
(Current as of June 2022)