Colonel Nicholas B. Babiak is Commander, 126th Operations Group, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. As Commander he serves as the senior officer responsible for all flying operations and crews in a wing of eight primary assigned KC-135R aircraft. The group executes worldwide air refueling and airlift operations, supports a wide range of conventional and nuclear plans, as well as Homeland Defense and Civil Support missions.
Colonel Babiak began his military career as an F-16 Aircraft Armament Systems Specialist with the 183rd Fighter Wing, Illinois Air National Guard, Springfield, Illinois in 1990. He attended Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois graduating in 1996 with a degree in Aviation Management. After a brief period as a civilian engaged in international aviation sales, Colonel Babiak transitioned to a fulltime commitment with the Illinois Air National Guard in 1998. Shortly after, he graduated from the Academy of Military Science and commissioned as a second lieutenant. Upon receiving his commission he went on to undergraduate pilot training, graduating in 2000. His first flying assignment was to the 108th Air Refueling Squadron in 2001 as a KC-135E pilot for the 126th Air Refueling Wing, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.
Colonel Babiak is an Instructor/Evaluator pilot who has logged more than 4,500 hours in the KC-135R/T/E, T-37, and T-38. He has supported multiple humanitarian disaster relief efforts; most recently as the Illinois Joint Task Force Commander in response to Corona Virus Disease 19. He has accumulated over 700 hours of combat and combat support time in numerous operations including: NORTHERN WATCH, PACIFIC THEATER SUPPORT PACKAGE, NOBLE EAGLE, ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM, ODYSSEY DAWN, UNIFIED PROTECTOR, INHERENT RESOLVE and FREEDOM SENTINEL. Prior to his current position Colonel Babiak served as the Commander, 126th Operations Support Squadron, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.
1996 Bachelor of Science, Aviation Management, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Ill.
2004 Aircraft Mishap Investigation Course
2007 Squadron Officer School, Air University Correspondence
2012 Air Reserve Component Chief of Safety Course
2012 Air Command and Staff College, Air University Correspondence
2014 Jet Engine Mishap Investigation Course
2015 Air War College, Air University Correspondence
2016 Air National Guard Intermediate Development Course, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland
2016 Safety and Accident Investigation Board President Course
2018 Air National Guard Commanders Development Course, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland
1. Jan 1999 - Aug 2000, Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, Sheppard Air Force Base, Wichita Falls, Texas
2. Aug 2000 - Nov 2000, Wing Project Officer, 126th Air Refueling Wing, Scott AFB, Ill.
3. Nov 2000 - Jun 2001, KC-135E Pilot Initial Qualification, Altus AFB, Okla.
4. Jun 2001 - Feb 2004, KC-135E Pilot, 108th Air Refueling Squadron, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
5. Feb 2004 - Oct 2005, Squadron Safety Officer, 108th Air Refueling Squadron, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
6. Oct 2005 - Oct 2006, Command Post Officer, 126th Air Refueling Wing, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
7. Oct 2006 - Mar 2012, KC-135R Aircraft Commander, 108th Air Refueling Squadron, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
8. Mar 2012 - Aug 2016, Chief of Wing Safety, 126th Air Refueling Wing, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
9. Aug 2016 - Mar 2018, Commander, 126th Operations Support Squadron, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
10. Mar 2018 - present, Vice Commander, 126th Air Refueling Wing, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
11. Feb 2021 – Aug 2021, Illinois Joint Task Force Commander, 183rd Wing, Springfield, Ill.
Rating: Command Pilot
Flight Hours: More than 4,500 hours
Combat & Combat Support: More than 700 hours
Aircraft Flown: KC-135E/R/T, T-37, T-38
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Meritorious Service Medal with 2 oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Meritorious Unit Award with oak leaf cluster
AF Outstanding Unit Award with two oak leaf clusters
Combat Readiness Medal
Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
National Defense Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Armed Forces Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal with 2 oak leaf clusters
Air & Space Campaign Medal
Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
AF Overseas Ribbon Short
Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon
AF Longevity Service with six oak leaf clusters
Armed Forces Reserve Medal with 4 “M” devices
Illinois Military Medal of Merit
Illinois Military Long and Honorable Service Medal with 5 oak leaf clusters
Illinois Military Attendance Ribbon with numeral 15
Illinois State Active Duty Service Ribbon with 2 oak leaf clusters
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant November 19, 1998
First Lieutenant November 19, 2000
Captain January 11, 2003
Major April 22, 2007
Lieutenant Colonel December 1, 2012
Colonel March 5, 2018