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Chief Master Sergeant Erik Thompson

Chief Master Sgt. Erik C. Thompson is the Command Chief Master Sergeant, Headquarters Air Education and Training Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. He is the senior enlisted advisor to the AETC commander and senior staff on all matters affecting the readiness, training, development, utilization, and resiliency of the command’s Airmen. The command includes the Air Force Recruiting Service, two numbered air forces and Air University. AETC operates more than 1,400 trainer, fighter and mobility aircraft, 24 wings, 11 bases and five geographically separated groups. The command’s approximately 60,000 active- duty, Reserve, Guard, civilian and contractor personnel train more than 293,000 total force Airmen, joint and international students per year annually, providing combat-ready Airmen to commanders across the Department of Defense.

Chief Thompson entered the Air Force from Fort Pierce, Florida, in June, 1993 as a helicopter maintenance specialist and retrained as a Flight Engineer in 1997. He has more than 3,650 hours as an instructor and evaluator flight engineer in C-130E and MC-130H aircraft, including 500 hours of combat time. His previous assignments include functional and leadership positions at the squadron, group, wing, Numbered Air Force and Major Air Command levels. Chief Thompson has deployed in support of numerous contingencies including Operations Southern Watch, Vigilant Warrior, Joint Forge, Allied Force, Desert Scorpion, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and Inherent Resolve. 

Prior to assuming his current position, Chief Thompson served as the Command Chief, 19th Air Force at JBSA-Randolph, Texas.  He also served in Command Senior Enlisted positions as the Command Chief, 27th Special Operations Wing, Cannon Air Force Base, NM, and Joint Special Operations Air Component, Special Operations Central Command, Al Udeid AB.


1998 Airman Leadership School, Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.

2005 Noncommissioned Officer’s Academy, Tyndall AFB, Fla.

2005 Associate Degree, Aviation Operations, Community College of the Air Force, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

2006 Bachelor of Business Administration Management (summa cum laude), American International University, Springfield, Mass.,

2009 Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

2011 USSOCOM Joint Special Operations Forces Senior Enlisted Academy, MacDill AFB, Fla.

2015 USSOCOM Summit Leadership Course, MacDill AFB, Fla.

2015 USAF Enterprise Leadership Seminar, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C.

2016 USSOCOM Combined/Joint SOF Component Commander’s Course, MacDill AFB, Fla.

2016 Senior Enlisted Legal Orientation, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

2016 USAF Enterprise Perspective Seminar, Alan Freed Associates, Washington D.C.

2017 Keystone Fellow, National Defense University, Washington D.C.

2017 Continuous Process Improvement, Institute for Defense and Business, Chapel Hill, N.C2018 USAF Transnational Affairs Seminar, Alan Freed Associates, Washington D.C.


1. July 1993-December 1993, Student, 362d Training Squadron, Sheppard AFB, Texas

2. December 1993-October 1997, Helicopter Maintenance Craftsman, 66th Rescue Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nev.

3. September 1997-February 1998, Student, 53rd Airlift Squadron, Little Rock, Ark.

4. October 1997-May 2000, Squadron Resource Advisor, Instructor Flight Engineer, 61st Airlift Squadron, Little Rock AFB, Ark.

5. May 2000-November 2001, C-130E Evaluator Flight Engineer, 61st Airlift Squadron, Little Rock AFB, Ark.

6. November 2001-November 2003, MC-130H Flight Engineer, 15th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla.

7. November 2003-July 2005, Instructor Flight Engineer, NCOIC Sq Plans, 15th SOS, Hurlburt Field, Fla.

8. July 2005-July 2007, Evaluator Flight Engineer, Spear Flight Chief, 15th SOS, Hurlburt Field, Fla.

9. August 2007-May 2008, Chief, Group Standardization/Evaluation, 353d Special Operations Group, Kadena Air Base, Japan

10. May 2008-February 2009, Flight Engineer Resource Manager, 1st SOS, Kadena AB, Japan

11. February 2009-November 2010, Operations Superintendent, 1st SOS, Kadena AB, Japan

12. November 2010- August 2013, Command Flight Engineer Evaluator and Flight Engineer Functional Manager, Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla.

13. August 2013-May 2016, Superintendent, 353rd Special Operations Support Squadron, Kadena AB, Japan

14. May 2016-August 2018, Command Chief, 27th Special Operations Wing, Cannon AFB, N.M.

15. October 2017-August 2018, Command Senior Enlisted Leader, Joint Special Operations Air Component-Central, Al Udeid AB, Qatar

16. August 2018-July 2020, Command Chief, 19th Air Force, JBSA-Randolph, Texas

17. August 2020-Current, Command Chief, Air Education and Training Command, JBSA-Randolph, Texas


Legion of Merit with one oak leaf cluster

Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters

Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters

Aerial Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster

Gallant Unit Citation

Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor device

Air Force Recognition ribbon with one oak leaf cluster

Southwest Asia Service Medal

Kosovo Campaign Medal

Afghanistan Campaign Medal

Iraq Campaign Medal

Korean Defense Service Medal

Humanitarian Service Medal

NATO Medal


1998, SrA John L. Levitow Award and Academic Achievement award, Airman Leadership School

2005, Distinguished Graduate, Non-Commissioned Officer Academy

2005 USAF Gen. Robert “Dutch” Huyser Flight Engineer of the Year Award

2006, 1st Special Operations Wing Non-commissioned Officer of the Year

2006, USAF SSgt Henry “Red” Erwin Outstanding Aircrew Member of the Year Award

2009, Distinguished Graduate, Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Academy

2011, Distinguished Graduate, Joint Special Operations Forces Senior Enlisted Academy


Chief Master Sergeant 1 Dec 13

 (Current as August, 2020)