Colonel Nicolas Henschel is the Commander, 126th Air Refueling Wing, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. As Wing Commander, he serves as the senior commanding officer responsible for an Illinois Air National Guard wing of 8 primary assigned KC-135R aircraft with over 900 personnel assigned with an annual budget of 32 million dollars. The wing executes global mobility operations, including both air refueling and airlift, supporting a wide range of conventional and nuclear operational plans.
Colonel Henschel received a congressional nomination to attend the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York. He graduated in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in Logistics & Intermodal Transportation, a United States Coast Guard Third Mate’s License, and a commission in the Illinois Air National Guard. He has spent his entire military career in the Illinois Air National Guard as an Evaluator Pilot, Director of Operations, Squadron Commander, and the A3/Director of Operations for the Illinois Air National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters. He has also supported multiple humanitarian disasters and several overseas contingency operations including NOBLE EAGLE, IRAQI FREEDOM, ENDURING FREEDOM, ODYSSEY DAWN, UNIFIED PROTECTOR, INHERENT RESOLVE and FREEDOM’S SENTINEL.
In addition to his military career, Colonel Henschel also serves in the Intelligence Community as a Senior Executive with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. With his most recent position the Director for the Office of Geomatics within the Foundation GEOINT Group. He has managed several large Department of Defense programs, executed congressional budgets up to $160 million, and led many large teams. He also served on a one-year Joint Duty Assignment at Headquarters Air Mobility Command as the Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (A2) Deputy Director. Prior to his current position, Colonel Henschel was assigned as the Commander of the 183d Air Operations Group, Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport, Springfield, Illinois.
2002 Bachelor of Science Degree, United States Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y.
2008 Squadron Officer School, by Correspondence
2012 Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Science, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, by Correspondence
2015 Air Command and Staff College, by Correspondence
2017 Air War College, by Correspondence
2018 Air Mobility Command Nuclear Leadership Course, Scott AFB, Ill.
2019 Mobility Air Force Senior Staff Course for Executives (MASC-E), Scott AFB, Ill.
2021 Director of Mobility Forces (DM4), Hurlburt Field, Fla.
2021 Dual Status Commander’s (DSC) Course, Colorado Springs, Colo.
2021 Joint Task Force Commander’s Training Course (JCTC), Colorado Springs, Colo.
2022 Joint Air Component Coordination Element (JACCE), Nellis AFB, Nev.
2023 Joint Combined Warfighter School (JCWS), by Correspondence
1. July 1998 – June 2002, Midshipman, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y.
2. June 2001 – July 2001, Cadet, AFROTC Field Training, Tyndall AFB, Fla.
3. June 2003 – July 2004, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Columbus AFB, Miss.
4. August 2004 – February 2005, KC-135E Pilot Initial Qualification, Altus AFB, Okla.
5. November 2005 – October 2007, Deputy Director of Operations, Tanker Airlift Control Center, Scott AFB, Ill.
6. July 2008 – September 2008, KC-135R Aircraft Commander Qualification, Altus AFB, Okla.
7. March 2013 – April 2013, KC-135R Flight Instructor Qualification, Altus AFB, Okla.
8. July 2014 – December 2015, Assistant Flight Commander, 108th Air Refueling Squadron, Scott AFB, Ill.
9. Jan 2016 – February 2017, Flight Commander, 108th Air Refueling Squadron, Scott AFB, Ill.
10. March 2017 – July 2017, Deputy Director of Operations, 108th Air Refueling Squadron, Scott AFB, Ill.
11. August 2017 – March 2018, Director of Operations, 108th Air Refueling Squadron, Scott AFB, Ill.
12. March 2018 – July 2020, Commander, 126th Operations Support Squadron, Scott AFB, Ill.
13. August 2020 – January 2022, A3/Director of Operations, Illinois Joint Force Headquarters, Camp Lincoln, Ill.
14. February 2022 – September 2023, Commander, 183d Air Operations Group, Springfield, Ill
Rating: Command Pilot
Flight Hours: Over 2800 hours
Aircraft Flown KC-135E/R/T, T-1, T-37
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Air Force Meritorious Service Medal
Aerial Achievement Medal
Air and Space Commendation Medal
Air and Space Achievement Medal
Meritorious Unit Award
Air and Space Outstanding Unit Award
Air and Space Organizational Excellence Award
Combat Readiness Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal
(Current as of September 2023)