Colonel George Downs is the Wing Commander of the Florida Air National Guard’s 125th Fighter Wing, Jacksonville, Florida. He is directly and through Group and Squadron Commanders, determines unit goals which are the foundation for long and short range planning and execution of all unit programs, and provides focus for all unit functions and activities. Col Downs also ensures goals align with national, regional, and state military strategies and local limitations while considering factors such as current and future mission needs, political climate, environmental concerns, area demographics, and regional and inter-agency mission (state and federal).
Colonel Downs was commissioned in 1999 as a Distinguished Gradate from the University of Illinois Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School and is a command pilot with more than 2,200 flying hours in the T-37, T-38, and F-15A/C/D. He has flown missions in support of Operations NOBLE EAGLE, SOUTHERN WATCH, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ATLANTIC RESOLVE. Before assuming his current position, Colonel Downs served as the Director of Intelligence, Operations and Communications, Headquarters Florida Air National Guard (FLANG), St. Augustine, Florida
1999 Bachelor of Science in Accountancy, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
1999 Aerospace Basic Course, Maxwell Air Force Base (AFB), Ala.
2005 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2007 USAF Weapons Instructor Course, Nellis AFB, Nev.
2009 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
2012 Reserve Component National Security Course, National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington D.C.
2017 Air War College, by correspondence
2018 Joint Task Force Commander’s Training Course, Peterson AFB, Colo.
2019 Dual Status Commander’s Course, Peterson AFB, Colo.
2019 Joint Air and Space Operations Senior Staff Course, Hurlburt AFB, Fla.
1. July 1999–February 2000 Executive Officer, 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, Beale Air Force Base (AFB), Calif.
2. March 2000–August 2001 Student, undergraduate pilot training, Laughlin AFB, Texas
3. September 2001–March 2002 Student, F-15 qualification training, Tyndall AFB, Fla.
4. April 2002–December 2004 Instructor Pilot, Assistant Chief of Scheduling, Assistant Chief of Wing Weapons and Tactics, 71st Fighter Squadron and 1st Operations Support Squadron, Langley AFB, Va.
5. Feb 2005-July 2007 Evaluator Pilot, chief of standardization and evaluation and flight commander, 390th Fighter Squadron, Mountain.Home AFB, Idaho
6. August 2007–April 2009 Evaluator Pilot, weapons officer and assistant operations officer, 493d Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England
7. April 2009–April 2010 Chief of Master Air Attack Planning and executive officer to the Director, 609th Combined Air and Space Operations Center, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar
8. July 2010-August 2013 Evaluator Pilot, weapons officer, chief of exercises and evaluations, 125th Fighter Wing, Jacksonville, Fla.
9. August 2013–August 2015 Evaluator Pilot, director of F-15 testing, Air National Guard/Air Force Reserve Command Test Center, OL-A, Jacksonville, Fla.
10. August 2015–March 2018 Evaluator Pilot, commander, 159th Fighter Squadron, Jacksonville, Fla.
11. March 2018–May 2020, Evaluator Pilot, director of Intelligence, Operations, and Communications, Joint Force Headquarters, Florida National Guard, St. Augustine, Fla.
12. May 2020 – Present, Vice Commander, 125th Fighter Wing, Jacksonville, Fla.
Rating: Command Pilot
Flight Hours: more than 2,200
Aircraft flown: T-37, T-38, and F-15A/C/D
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with “V” device, seven oak leaf clusters
Combat Readiness Medal with three oak leaf clusters
National Defense Service Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant June 16, 1999
First Lieutenant June 16, 2001
Captain June 16, 2003
Major May 1, 2009
Lieutenant Colonel July 23, 2013
Colonel March 1, 2018
(Current as of June 2020)