Lt. Col. Ward G. Willis is the commander, 344th Recruiting Squadron, in Arlington, Texas. He oversees a squadron of eight flights and 89 people encompassing 106,000 square miles, and a 10 million person recruiting market throughout northern Texas, western Louisiana, southern Arkansas, and southern Oklahoma. The squadron partners with military, civic, educational and community organizations to enhance Air Force awareness and to recruit high-quality members into enlisted and officer careers.
Lieutenant Colonel Willis, a Texas native, graduated with honors from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1997. In 2001 he entered the Air Force through Officer Training School. He was selected to attend the Air Force Institute of Technology where he earned a Master of Science Degree in Information Resource Management and was awarded the National Security Agency 4012 Certificate for Information Security Professionals in 2008. Lieutenant Colonel Willis was competitively selected to participate in the Education with Industry program that provides Air Force officers with on the job education, experience, and exposure to private sectors of the economy. He was also selected to serve as an Exchange Officer to the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense where he was engaged in daily operations supporting defensive cyber operations.
1997 Bachelor of Science in Health Science, LAMAR University, Beaumont, Texas
2002 Aerospace Basic, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2008 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2008 Master of Science, Information Resource Management, USAF Institute of Technology, Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio
2012 Air Command and Staff College, correspondence and residency equivalent program
April 2002 – May 2003, Officer in Charge, Mission Systems Flight, 7th Communications Squadron, Dyess AFB, Texas
May 2003 – March 2004, Officer in Charge, Infrastructure/SATCOM, TDC Flight, 7th Communications Squadron, Dyess AFB, Texas
March 2004 – June 2004, Executive Officer, 7th Mission Support Group, Dyess AFB, Texas
June 2004 – June 2005, Executive Officer, 354th Maintenance Group, Eielson AFB, Alaska
June 2005 – August 2006, Operations Officer, 354th Communications Squadron, Eielson AFB, Alaska
August 2006 – April 2008, Masters Student, Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio
April 2008 – July 2009, Assistant Branch Chief, CIO Support Division, Air Force Reserve Command HQ, Robins AFB, Ga.
July 2009 – November 2009, Flight Commander, Mission Systems Flight, 54th Combat Communications Squadron, Robins AFB, Ga.
November 2009 – May 2010, Combat Operations Flight Commander, 54th Combat Communications Squadron, Robins AFB, Ga,
May 2010 – March 2011, Deputy Commander, 54th Combat Communications Squadron, Robins AFB, Ga.
March 2011 – August 2011, Deputy Director, Plans and Programs, 689th Combat Communications Wing, Robins AFB Ga.
August 2011 – July 2012, Student, Education with Industry, Harris Corporation, Melbourne, Fla.
July 2012 – June 2013, Chief, Joint Cyber Defense Capabilities Development, Exchange Officer Program, RAF Corsham, UK
June 2013 – June 2014, Chief, Joint Cyber Operations, Exchange Officer Program, RAF Corsham, UK
June 2014 – June 2015, Branch Chief, Joint Cyber Operations, Exchange Officer Program, RAF Corsham, UK
June 15 – August 2017, Commander, 47th Communications Squadron, Laughlin AFB, Texas
August 2017 – July 2018, Action Officer, Cyber Capability Development, J6, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pentagon
July 2018 – July 2020, Deputy Branch Chief, Cyber Capability Development, J6, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pentagon
July 2020 - present, Commander, 344th Recruiting Squadron, Arlington, Texas
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters Air Force Achievement Medal
Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Meritorious Unit Award with one oak leaf cluster
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor device and two oak leaf clusters
Combat Readiness Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal with two star devices
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant March 2002
First Lieutenant March 2004
Captain March 2006
Major January 2012
Lieutenant Colonel January 2017
(Current as of July 2021)