Lt Col Rye Whitehead is Commander, Detachment 2, First Air Force and 22 Wing (RCAF) Operations Officer, Canadian Air Defence Sector, Canadian Forces Base North Bay, Ontario, Canada. In this capacity, he leads a bi-national team of USAF and RCAF Airmen in direct support of the Canadian NORAD Region mission of air defense and ensuring air sovereignty of North America.
Lt Col Whitehead grew up in Missoula, Montana where he graduated as Valedictorian of Sentinel High School in 1995. Lt Col Whitehead attended the United States Air Force Academy from 1995 to 1999 where he was awarded with Western Athletic Conference Academic All-American honors in Cross Country and served as Cadet Director of Operations in Cadet Squadron 4. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Foreign Area Studies with a Minor in Russian. While at the Air Force Academy, he also earned his Parachutist Wings and spent a month in St. Petersburg, Russia during an immersion program.
Lt Col Whitehead was selected for Air Battle Management Training in Panama City, Florida. He was then assigned to Robins Air Force Base where he was an Air Weapons Officer onboard the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) aircraft in the 12th Airborne Air Control Squadron (AACS) and then as an Instructor Air Weapons Officer in the 330th Combat Training Squadron. In 2003, Lt Col Whitehead was stationed at Geilenkirchen Air Base, Germany as a Passive Detection Controller on NATO Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS). He was an Exercises Officer, Flight Commander, and OIC of Operations Analysis Branch. He also served on the Commander’s Action Group and was a Test/Evaluator on the
$1.6 Billion Mid-Term upgrade program. Lt Col Whitehead went to Squadron Officer School where his Flight won the General Hinman Award by placing first academically. He also was named Outstanding Contributor, Top Third Graduate, and won the class 3-mile run. Lt Col Whitehead was then assigned to Tinker AFB, Oklahoma as an Instructor Electronic Combat Officer and Chief of Squadron Training in the 966th AACS. Lt Col Whitehead deployed in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM as an Electronic Combat Officer. After deploying, Lt Col Whitehead was selected for Chief, Wing Mission System Requirements where he led the Wing’s development and integration of future E-3 mission systems requirements to meet future and ongoing demands onboard the AWACS. In 2011, Lt Col Whitehead graduated from Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) in the top third of his class. While at ACSC, he was selected for an Embassy Immersion Fellowship with the State Department and worked at US Embassy Riga, Latvia. While in Riga, he worked the Rule of Law portfolio in the Political and Economics section. His staff assignment was as the Deputy Chief, USAFE-UK International Relations at Mildenhall Air Base, United Kingdom. In this position he was directly involved with international negotiations on policy issues concerning the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense on behalf of US European Command. While in the United Kingdom, Lt Col Whitehead graduated with a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the University of Cambridge, which was followed by an assignment back to Tinker AFB, OK. While at Tinker, Lt Col Whitehead became a qualified Mission Crew Commander and filled the position of Assistant Director of Operations in the 965th AACS. He was then selected Director of Operations at the 964th AACS and as a deployed Director of Operations for the 968th Expeditionary Airborne Air Control Squadron.
1999 Bachelor of Science, Foreign Air Studies with Minor in Russian, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO
2005 Squadron Officer School, by correspondence 2005 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, AL
2005 Master of Arts, International Relations, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 2008 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
2009 Marine Corps Command and Staff College, by correspondence 2011 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, AL
2013 Air War College, by correspondence
2015 Master of Studies, International Relations, University of Cambridge, UK UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
1. June 1995 - June 1999, student, Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO.
2. August 1999 - May 2000, student, Undergraduate Air Battle Management, Tyndall Air Force Base, FL.
3. July 2000 – January 2001, student Air Weapons Officer, Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, Robins Air Force Base, GA.
4. January 2001 - January 2002, Air Weapons Officer, Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, Robins Air Force Base, GA
5. January 2002 – July 2003, Instructor Air Weapons Officer, Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, Robins Air Force Base, GA
6. July 2003 – January 2004, Student Passive Detection Controller, NATO AWACS, Geilenkirchen, Germany
7. January 2004 – November 2004, Passive Detection Controller, NATO AWACS, Geilenkirchen, Germany
8. November 2004 – June 2005, Flight Commander, NATO AWACS, Geilenkirchen, Germany
9. June 2005 – November 2005, Flight Commander and Instructor Passive Detection Controller, NATO AWACS, Geilenkirchen, Germany
10. November 2005 – August 2007, Officer In Charge, Operations Wing Headquarters Analysis Branch, NATO AWACS, Geilenkirchen, Germany
11. September 2007 – December 2007, Instructor Electronic Combat Officer, 966th AACS, Tinker AFB, OK
12. December 2007 – November 2008, Chief, Squadron Training, Tinker AFB, OK
13. November 2008 – July 2010, Chief, Wing Mission System Requirements, Tinker AFB, OK
14. April 2011 – May 2011, Embassy Immersion Fellowship, Riga, Latvia
15. July 2010 – July 2011 – Student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, AL
16. July 2011 – September 2014, Deputy Chief, USAFE-UK International Relations, Mildenhall, UK
17. September 2014 – March 2016, Assistant Director of Operations, 965 AACS, Tinker AFB, OK
18. March 2016 – June 2017, 964 AACS Director of Operations, Tinker AFB, OK
19. July 2017 – Present, Commander, Det 2 and 22 Wing (RCAF) Operations Officer, North Bay, Canada
Rating: Instructor Mission Crew Commander Flight Hours: 3600+ Hours
Combat Hours: 872 Hours Aircraft: E-8C and E-3 A/B/C/G
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS:
Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Joint Service Commendation Medal Air Force Commendation Medal
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION:
Second Lieutenant June 2, 1999
First Lieutenant June 2, 2001
Captain June 2, 2003
Major December 1, 2008
Lieutenant Colonel May 1, 2014
Current as of July 2017