Colonel Patrick W. Donaldson is the commander of the
161st Air Refueling Wing, Arizona Air National Guard, in
Phoenix. He is responsible for more than 800 Airmen and
eight KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft based at Goldwater Air
National Guard Base. The wing’s mission is to train, equip,
and maintain units and individuals to meet worldwide
requirements in support of the larger Air Force mission of
global reach through rapid mobilization, airlift, aeromedical
evacuation and aerial refueling operations for United
States and partner nation air forces.
Colonel Donaldson was raised in Phoenix, Arizona and
attended college at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul,
Minn., on a ROTC scholarship. After serving nine years on
active duty, Col Donaldson returned home to Phoenix and
joined the 161st Air Refueling Wing in 2003. In early 2011,
Col Donaldson joined the 161st Operations Group as a full
time pilot and assumed command of the 161st Operations
Support Flight in September of that year. From October
2013 until April 2015, he served as the 161st Maintenance
Group Commander. Prior to his current assignment, Col
Donaldson served as the Commander of the 161st
While serving as a Drill Status Guardsman from 2003 to 2010, Col Donaldson engaged in a variety of roles in the
aviation industry. As a Chief Demonstration Pilot, he participated in the initial launch of new commercial jets into the
global market. In 2007, he co-founded a consulting group to provide business consulting services to the aviation
industry. Col Donaldson has flown missions in support of Operations Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Deny Flight,
Allied Force, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom.
1993 Bachelor of Arts, Business Administration, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.
1999 Master of Business Administration International Studies, Whitworth University, Spokane, Wash.
2000 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2000 Air Force Instrument School, Randolph AFB, Texas.
2011 Air War College, by correspondence
2013 Reserve Component National Security Course, Fort McNair, Washington D.C.
2014 Commander Development Course, ANG Readiness Center, Washington D.C.
1. March 1994 – April 1995, Student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Reese Air Force Base, Texas
2. June 1995 – October 1995, Student, KC-135A Initial Qualification Training, Altus AFB, Okla.
3. October 1995 – April 2000, Pilot, 92nd Air Refueling Wing, Fairchild AFB, Wash.
4. April 2000 – October 2002, Instructor Pilot, 65th Airlift Squadron, Hickam AFB, Hawaii
5. October 2002 – April 2003, Assistant Chief of Standardization and Evaluation, 15th Air Base Wing, Hickam AFB, Hawaii
6. April 2003 – November 2011, Standardization and Evaluation Pilot, Instructor Pilot, 161st Air Refueling Wing, Goldwater Air
National Guard Base, Phoenix, Ariz.
7. November 2011 – October 2013, Commander, 161st Operations Support Flight, Goldwater Air National Guard Base,
8. October 2013 – April 2015, Commander, 161st Maintenance Group, Goldwater Air National Guard Base, Phoenix, Ariz.
9. April 2015 – January 2018, Commander, 161st Operations Group, Goldwater Air National Guard Base, Phoenix, Ariz.
10. January 2018 – Present, Commander, 161st Air Refueling Wing, Goldwater Air National Guard Base, Phoenix, Ariz.
Rating: Command Pilot
Flight Hours: More than 5,000, including more than 400 combat hours
Aircraft Flown: KC-135R/E/T, C-135B and EC-135
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf cluster
Air Medal with oak leaf cluster
Aerial Achievement Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant Oct. 14, 1993
First Lieutenant Oct. 14, 1995
Captain Oct. 14, 1997
Major Oct. 7, 2003
Lieutenant Colonel April 3, 2010
Colonel May 22, 2014
(Current as of February 2021)