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Lieutenant Colonel NICHOLAS V. PETTIT

Lt Col Nicholas Pettit is the Commander of 1st Air Force, Detachment 3, Patrick SFB, FL. Detachment 3 (Human Space Flight Support Office) is the only full-time unit tasked to provide DoD support to the nation’s crewed space flight programs and is responsible for worldwide astronaut rescue, recovery and retrieval, medical operations, and nominal and contingency landing site support.

Lt Col Pettit was commissioned in 2005 through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Norwich University. He was awarded his Combat Systems Officer (CSO) wings in 2006 and received an assignment flying HC-130’s under Air Combat Command at Moody AFB, GA. Following his first operational assignment, Lt Col Pettit transitioned to the HC-130J at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ where he served as instructor, evaluator, Chief of Group Weapons and Tactics, and was a deployed Director of 
Operations of the 26th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron. Additionally, Lt Col Pettit was selected to be initial cadre of the HC-130J Weapons Instructor Course (WIC) at Nellis AFB, NV. He is a Master CSO with more than 2000 flight hours in the HC-130P/J and has deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR, and Operation INHERENT RESOLVE. Prior to his current position, Lt Col Pettit was Deputy Chief of the Personnel Recovery Division at Headquarters Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA.

2005 Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems, Norwich University, Northfield, VT 
2005 Air and Space Basic Course (ASBC), Maxwell AFB, AL
2006 Combat Systems Officer Training (CSO), Randolph AFB, TX 2006 Initial C-130 FTU, Little Rock AFB, AR
2007 Water Survival Training, NAS Pensacola, FL
2007 Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE), Fairchild AFB, WA 2007 Mission HC-130 FTU, Kirtland AFB, NM
2010 Masters in Business Administration, Norwich University, Northfield, VT 2011 HC-130P Navigator Instructor School, Kirtland AFB, NM
2012 Squadron Officer School (SOS), Maxwell AFB, AL 2013 HC-130J CSO Transition Course, Kirtland AFB, NM
2016 HC-130J Weapons Instructor Course (16B), Nellis AFB, NV
2018 Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) in residence, Maxwell AFB, AL

1. June 2005 – October 2006, Student, Undergraduate Navigator Training, 562 FTU, Randolph AFB, TX
2. October 2006 – April 2007, Navigator, Initial FTU, 53rd TRS, Little Rock AFB, AR
3. April 2007 – January 2008, HC-130 Mission Navigator Initial Qualification, 550th SOS, Kirtland AFB, NM
4. February 2008 – November 2012, Navigator, Instructor Navigator, Plans & Exercises Officer, 
Assistant Tactics Flight Commander, 71st RQS, Moody AFB, GA.
5. December 2012 – June 2014, CSO Flight Commander, 79th RQS, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ
6. June 2014 – June 2015, Chief, Group Weapons and Tactics, 563rd Rescue Group, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ
7. June 2015 – December 2015, Chief, Standardization and Evaluation, 79th RQS, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ
8. December 2015 – May 2018, Assistant Director of Operations, HC-130J WIC Instructor, Nellis AFB, NV
9. May 2018 – June 2019, Student, Air Command and Staff College (AETC), Maxwell AFB, AL
10. June 2019 – June 2020, Chief, HC-130J Branch, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA
11. June 2020 – June 2021, Deputy Chief, Personnel Recovery Branch, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA
12. July 2021 – July 2023, Director of Operations, Detachment 3, 1st Air Force, Patrick SFB, FL
13. July 2023 – Present, Commander, Detachment 3, 1st Air Force, Patrick SFB, FL

Rating: Master Combat Systems Officer Flight hours: More than 2,000
Aircraft flown: T-43A, T-1, C-130E/H, HC-130P/J and MC-130P/J

Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters
Air and Space Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one 
service star Humanitarian Service Medal

2007 Distinguished Graduate, C-130 IQT
2012 Distinguished Graduate, Squadron Officer School

Second Lieutenant June 1, 2005
First Lieutenant June 1, 2007
Captain June 1, 2009
Major November 1, 2015
Lieutenant Colonel May 1, 2020