Colonel Christopher J. Niemi is the Commander, 33rd Operations Group, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. He is responsible for F-35 A/B/C Lightning II flying and maintenance training for the Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and eight international partners. The wing is also responsible for all Air Force Air Battle Manager training at Tyndall AFB, Fla. and an Intelligence Formal Training Unit at Hurlburt Field, Fla. When fully equipped, the 33rd FW may operate up to approximately 60 F-35s assigned to two flying squadrons. The unique nature of this fighter wing accommodates service specific requirements in a non-traditional Air Force fighter wing structure.
Colonel Niemi entered the Air Force in 1993, as a graduate from the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at the Georgia Institute of Technology. During his first F-15E operational assignment at RAF Lakenheath, he served as a combat mission commander during OPERATION NORTHERN WATCH and OPERATION ALLIED FORCE. He attended the USAF Weapons School enroute to Seymour Johnson AFB, where he was selected as one of eight F-22 Initial Operational Test and Evaluation pilots. Colonel Niemi was subsequently assigned to numerous F-22 training, test, and operational squadrons. Prior to taking command of the 33rd Operations Group, Col Niemi served as the Senior Air Force Advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Development, Office of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.
1993 Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, Ga.
1994 Master of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, Ga.
1999 F-15E USAF Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev.
2000 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2007 Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, Kan.
2012 George C. Marshall Center Fellowship, Garmisch, Germany.
2014 Joint and Combined Warfighting School, Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va.
1. June 1994 - June 1995: Student, Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Laughlin AFB, Texas.
2. July 1995 - May 1996: Student, F-15E Basic Operational Training Course, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.
3. June 1996 - June 1999: Assistant Chief, Weapons and Tactics, and Squadron Programmer, 492nd FS, 48th FW, RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom.
4. July 1999 – December 1999: Student, F-15E Weapons Instructor Course, Nellis AFB, Nev.
5. January 2000 - October 2002: Chief, Standardization and Evaluation, Flight Commander, and Chief, Weapons and Tactics, 336th FS, 4th FW, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.
6. November 2002 – September 2004: Chief, F-22 Dedicated Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (DIOT&E) Current Operations and Programming, AFOTEC Detachment 6, Edwards AFB, Calif.
7. October 2004 - May 2006: Assistant Director of Operations, 43rd FS, 325th FW, Tyndall AFB, Fla.
8. June 2006 - June 2007: Student, Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
9. July 2007 - June 2009: Director of Operations, 90th FS, 3rd WG, Elmendorf AFB, Ala.
10. July 2009 - July 2011: Commander, 525th FS, 3rd WG, Elmendorf AFB, Ala.
11. August 2011 - June 2012: Air Force Fellow, George C. Marshall Center, Garmisch, Germany.
12. July 2012 - April 2014: Senior Air Force Advisor, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Force Development, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
13. May 2014 - Present: Commander, 33rd Operations Group, 33rd FW, Eglin AFB, Fla.
Rating: Command pilot
Flight Hours: 2800
Aircraft flown: F-35, F-22 F-15E
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Superior Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Aerial Achievement Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant June 1993
First Lieutenant December 1995
Captain December 1997
Major March 2004
Lieutenant Colonel June 2008
Colonel October 2013
(Current as of July 22, 2015)