Colonel Barry A. Blanchard is the Commander, 172d Airlift Wing, Thompson Field, Jackson, Mississippi. He directs the operations, maintenance and support of the Wing’s eight assigned C-17 Globemaster III aircraft tasked with providing global strategic and tactical airlift in support of National Command Authority objectives and the objectives of the Governor of Mississippi. The 172d Airlift Wing is comprised of 14 local units and three Geographically Separated Units, and is capable of supporting airlift and aeromedical evacuation operations, tactical airlift control, combat civil engineering, air control, and combat readiness and training.
Colonel Blanchard was commissioned through the United States Air Force Academy in 1992. He attended Undergraduate Pilot Training at Columbus Air Force Base and received his wings in 1993. He then attended Graduate School at Texas A&M University earning a Master of Science degree in 1994. Before taking command of the 172d Airlift Wing, Colonel Blanchard served as the Commander, 172d Operations Group, directing twenty-four aircrews, ten aeromedical evacuation crews, and the standardization and evaluation function in the operation of the 172d Airlift Wing’s eight C-17 aircraft.
A Command/Evaluator pilot with over 4300 hours in the C-17A, Colonel Blanchard has participated in Operation’s SOUTHERN WATCH, ALLIED FORCE, ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM and NEW DAWN. While serving as a traditional guardsman, Colonel Blanchard is a pilot with FedEx.