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Colonel Timothy W. Thurston II

Preparatory School Commander

Preparatory School

Colonel Timothy W. Thurston II
Contact Information

(719) 333-2583



Colonel Timothy W. Thurston II is the Commander, United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School. He commands faculty and staff that motivate, prepare and evaluate selected candidates in an educational, military, moral and physical environment to perform successfully and enhance diversity at the United States Air Force Academy. Prior to this assignment, Col Thurston served as Senior Director of Operations for the 618th Air Operations Center (Tanker Airlift Control Center). The 618 AOC (TACC) is responsible for operational planning, scheduling, directing and assessing a fleet of approximately 1,100 aircraft in support of combat delivery and strategic airlift, air refueling and aeromedical operations around the world.

Colonel Thurston received his commission from the United States Air Force Academy in 1995. Since then, he has flown as a navigator, instructor navigator, and evaluator navigator in C-130E, C-130H and T-43 aircraft. He is a Master Navigator with more than 2,500 hours. He taught at Undergraduate Navigator Training and served at Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Legislative Liaison. Col Thurston has commanded twice at the squadron level, at Basic Military Training (BMT) at Lackland AFB, Texas and the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard at Bolling AFB, District of Columbia. Col Thurston has been deployed to multiple operations prior to 9/11, and OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM since the global war on terror began.


Master of Strategic Studies, Air War College (2016)

Air War College, Correspondence (2010)

Master of Arts in Homeland Defense and Security, Naval Postgraduate School (2007)

Air Command and Staff College, Correspondence (2005)

Master of Business Administration, Webster University (2001)

Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB (2001)

Bachelor of Science in Political Science, United States Air Force Academy (1995)

Professional Experience

Commander, United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. (June 2018 – Present)

Senior Director of Operations, 618th Air Operations Center, Scott AFB, Ill. (June 2016 – May 2018)

Student, Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala. (June 2015 – May 2016)

Commander of the USAF Honor Guard, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, District of Colombia (May 2013 – May 2015)

Commander, 322d Training Squadron (Basic Military Training), Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas (June 2011 – April 2013)

Deputy Chief, Air Operations, Legislative Liaison, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, the Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia (Jan. 2008 – May 2011)

Student, Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, Calif. (Sep. 2006 – Dec. 2007)

Instructor Navigator, Assistant Director of Operations, Wing Director of Staff and Wing Executive Officer, 36 Airlift Squadron & 374 Airlift Wing, Yokota AB, Japan (March 2004 – Aug. 2006)

C-130 Requalification, Little Rock AFB, Ark. (Nov. 2003 – March 2004)

Instructor Navigator, Evaluator Navigator and Student Flight Commander, Undergraduate Navigator Training, 562d Flying Training Squadron, Randolph AFB, Texas (April 2000 – Nov. 2003)

Navigator, Instructor Navigator and Chief Scheduler, 61st Airlift Squadron, Little Rock AFB, Ark. (Feb. 1997 – April 2000)

Student, C-130 Initial Qualification, Little Rock AFB, Ark. (July 1996 – Feb. 1997)

Student, Undergraduate Navigator Training, 558 & 562d Flying Training Squadron, Randolph AFB, Texas (Aug. 1995 – June 1996)