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Colonel Kristopher W. Struve is the Commander of the 35th Fighter Wing, Misawa Air Base, Japan. He commands a combat-ready F-16CM fighter wing composed of 3,100 personnel and sustains forces and facilities worth over two billion dollars. Colonel Struve oversees an 11,400-person installation which supports eight associate units representing three U.S. military services (Air Force, Army and Navy) and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.


Col. Struve was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1999 through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program while a student at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He attended pilot training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas and F-16 training at Luke AFB, Arizona.  Col. Struve has served operationally at Cannon AFB, New Mexico, twice previously at Misawa AB, Japan, and both attended and taught at the U.S. Air Force’s Weapons School at Nellis AFB, Nevada.


Col. Struve also commanded the 13th Fighter Squadron and led them in the opening days of operations reentering Iraq and into Syria as part of OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE.  In 2007, he was awarded the National Aeronautic Association’s Clarence Mackay trophy for the most meritorious flight of the year as part of a 12-hour, four-ship strike mission into Afghanistan.  Col. Struve is a command pilot with over 2,500 flying hours in the F-16, T-38, and T-37, including 450 combat hours. Prior to his current assignment, Colonel Struve was the 8th Operations Group Commander at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea.



1999 Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Cal-Poly Pomona, Calif.

2004 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

2010 Master of Science, Aero Science Technology, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

2012 Master of Science, Defense Analysis Irregular Warfare, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif.

2017 Master of Science, National Security Strategy, National War College, Washington, D.C.



  1. October 1999 – October 2001, Student, EURO-NATO Joint Pilot Training, Sheppard AFB, Texas

  2. April 2001 – October 2001, Student Pilot, F-16 Replacement Training Unit, Luke AFB, Ariz.

  3. November 2001 – October 2004, F-16 Instructor Pilot, Cannon AFB, N.M.

  4. October 2004 – July 2005, Chief of Standardization and Evaluation, 13th Fighter Squadron, Misawa AB, Japan

  5. July 2005 – December 2005, Student Pilot, United States Air Force Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev.

  6. January 2006 – September 2007, Weapons Officer, 13th Fighter Squadron, and Wing Weapons Officer, Misawa AB, Japan

  7. September 2007 – July 2011, Air-to-Air Supremacy Flight Commander and Chief of Weapons School Integration, USAF Weapons School, USAF Warfare Center Advanced Programs and Integration Office, Nellis AFB, Nev.

  8. July 2011 – January 2013, Student, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif.

  9. February 2013 – December 2013, Director of Operations, 14th Fighter Squadron, Misawa AB, Japan       

  10. January 2014 – March 2015, Commander, 13th Fighter Squadron, Misawa AB, Japan

  11. June 2015 – July 2016, Executive Officer to the Commander, United States Forces Japan and Fifth Air Force

  12. August 2016 – June 2017, Student, National War College, Washington D.C.

  13. July 2017 – June 2018, Commander, 8th Operations Group, Kunsan AB, Republic of Korea

  14. July 2018 – present, Commander, 35th Fighter Wing, Misawa AB, Japan


Rating:  Command Pilot

Combat Hours:  452

Flight hours:  2,500

Aircraft flown:  T-37, T-38, F-16



2007 National Aeronautical Association Mackay Trophy

Legion of Merit

Bronze Star Medal

Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters

Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters

Air Force Commendation Medal

Air Force Achievement Medal



Second Lieutenant July 12, 1999

First Lieutenant July 12, 2001

Captain July 12, 2003           

Major June 1, 2009

Lieutenant Colonel Nov. 1, 2012

Colonel May 1, 2017

(Current as of July 2018)