Brig. Gen. Joshua M. Olson is the Commander, 86th Airlift Wing, and Installation Commander, Ramstein Air Base, Germany. As the installation host, the 86th AW supports the headquarters for U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, Third Air Force, two tenant wings, and more than 120 mission partners to include the integration and caring for the greater Kaiserslautern Military Community and its 56,000 U.S. service members and their families. As the 86th AW commander, he leads a wing composed of seven groups and 30 squadrons across four bases in Germany, Spain, Belgium, and Portugal. The 86th AW’s mission is to build Airmen, project power, and support partners. The wing conducts USAFE-AFAFRICA’s only airlift, airdrop, and aeromedical evacuation flying operations, providing rapid mobility and expeditionary combat support for military operations.
Brig. Gen. Olson entered the Air Force through the ROTC program as an honors graduate from Michigan Technological University. His operational assignments and deployments include KC-10 Instructor Pilot, Travis Air Force Base, California, C-130E/H Evaluator Pilot, Pope AFB, North Carolina, 37th Airlift Squadron Commander, Ramstein AB, Germany, and as the Vice Commander, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing, Southwest Asia.
Brig. Gen. Olson has previously commanded at every level. He previously commanded at the wing level as the Commander, 22nd Air Refueling Wing, McConnell AFB, Kansas, the Air Force's largest tanker wing and home to the Air Force’s first KC-46A Pegasus. Prior to assuming his current position, Brig. Gen. Olson was the Executive Officer to the Commander, U.S. Transportation Command, Scott AFB, Illinois.
1997 Bachelor of Science, Chemical Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Houghton
2001 Undergraduate Pilot Training, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas
2003 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2005 Master of Arts, Education and Administration, Chapman University, Fairfield, Calif.
2006 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
2010 Air Force Fellow, Strategic Policy Intern, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
2010 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2013 Executive Business Training, Darden Graduate School of Business, University of Virginia, Charlottesville
2013 Secretary of Defense Corporate Fellowship, 3M Company, St. Paul, Minn.
2014 Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va.
2018 Enterprise Leadership Seminar, University of North Carolina, Raleigh
2019 Leadership Decision Making, Harvard University, Boston, Mass.
2021 NATO General Officer Flag Officer Ambassador Course, NATO Defense College, Rome, Italy
1. June 1997−September 2000, Acquisition Manager, MC-130H Combat Talon II, Wright- Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
2. September 2000−September 2001, Student/Class Leader, Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Laughlin AFB, Texas
3. September 2001−September 2005, Wing Executive Officer, KC-10 Instructor Pilot, Flight Commander, Training Officer, 60th Air Mobility Wing and 6th Air Refueling Squadron, Travis AFB, Calif.
4. September 2005−April 2006, Student, C-130 Formal Training Unit, Little Rock AFB, Ark.
5. April 2006−April 2008, Assistant Operations Officer and C-130E/H Evaluator Pilot, 41st and 2nd Airlift Squadrons, Pope AFB, N.C.
6. April 2008−July 2009, Aide-de-Camp to the Commander, Eighteenth Air Force, Scott AFB, Ill.
7. July 2009−July 2010, Strategic Policy Intern, Air Force Fellows Program, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
8. July 2010−August 2011, Chief, Strategic Airlift Requirements, Office of Air Force Reserve, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
9. September 2011−June 2013, Commander, 37th Airlift Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
10. June 2013−August 2014, Secretary of Defense Corporate Fellow, 3M Company, St. Paul, Minn.
11. August 2014−June 2016, Deputy Director, Program Management Activities, J7 Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
12. June 2016−July 2017, Vice Commander, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing, Southwest Asia
13. July 2017−July 2019, Commander, 22nd Air Refueling Wing, McConnell AFB, Kan.
14. July 2019−August 2020, Executive Officer to the Commander, U.S. Transportation Command, Scott AFB, Ill.
15. August 2020−present, Commander, 86th Airlift Wing, Ramstein AB, Germany
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. August 2014−June 2016, Deputy Director, Program Management Activities, J7 Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va., as a colonel
2. July 2019−August 2020, Executive Officer to the Commander, U.S. Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., as a colonel
Rating: command pilot
Flight hours: more than 2,900
Aircraft Flown: KC-46A, KC-135, C-130J, KC-10A, C-130E/H, T-1A, and T-37B
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal
2019 Jerome F. O’Malley Award, Air Mobility Command
2019 General Mark A. Welsh III One Air Force Award, Air Mobility Command
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant June 13, 1997
First Lieutenant June 13, 1999
Captain June 13, 2001
Major Feb. 1, 2007
Lieutenant Colonel Dec.1, 2010
Colonel Aug. 1, 2015
Brigadier General July 6, 2021
(Current as of July 2021)