Col. Cynthia L. Smith
is the Commander, 186th Air Refueling Wing, Key Field Air National Guard Base, Meridian, Mississippi. The 186th Air Refueling Wing provides over 1,100 personnel and eight KC-135R aircraft to Air Mobility Command for worldwide operations. The wing also supports domestic counter-drug and emergency response missions as well as overseas combatant commander requirements with an RC-26B aircraft. Additional units include the 238th Air Support Operations Squadron which serves as a combat force multiplier to U.S. Army counterparts, the 248th Air Traffic Control Squadron which is capable of providing air traffic control services for commercial, military and general aviation aircraft operating out of any airfield worldwide, and the 186th Air Operations Group which provides First Air Force staff augmentation to support the homeland defense mission and deliver defense support to civil authorities during domestic events.
Col. Smith graduated from Delta State University, Cleveland, Mississippi, in 1997, earning a Bachelor of Commercial Aviation with concentrations in both Flight Operations and Aviation Management. After joining the Mississippi Air National Guard in 1998, she was commissioned through the Academy of Military Science in 1999. She graduated from Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance Air Force Base (AFB) where she received the Commander’s Trophy. A traditional Guard pilot, Col. Smith has attended Pilot Qualification training for the KC-135R, C-12 and C-27J aircraft. She has served multiple tours overseas, performing both aircrew and staff duties, in support of contingency operations including Joint/Deliberate Forge, Deny Flight, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel. In 2010, she served in support of a third flying mission at Key Field, the MC-12W, through the Project Liberty program.
Prior to her current position, Col. Smith was the A-3 Director of Operations, Mississippi Air National Guard, Joint Force Headquarters (JFH), Jackson, Mississippi.