Col. John T. Ethridge Assumed Command of Holloman Air Force Base and Biography


Col. John T. Ethridge assumes command of the 49th Wing and Holloman Air Force Base, in New Mexico near Alamogordo. The 49th Wing at Holloman Air Force Base hosted its change of command ceremony on May 17, welcoming Col. John T. Ethridge while saying goodbye to Col. Justin B. Spears.

Holloman Air Force Base also welcome a new 49th Wing Command Chief, Master Sgt. William G. Ford.

U.S. Air Force Col. John Ethridge took command of the 49th Wing from U.S. Air Force Col. Justin Spears during a ceremony officiated by U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Clark Quinn, Nineteenth Air Force commander.

“The 49th Wing lives up to its vision of being America’s premier training wing, but it’s more than just a training wing” said Quinn. “The 49th is forging the world’s most inspired, proficient, and adaptive warriors. Our Air Force must possess the capabilities to deter aggression, project power and defend our nation’s interests across the globe, and this wing is at the leading edge of developing these capabilities and Airmen to ensure our nation is ready to fly, fight and win at any time and in any place.”

Spears’ time in command saw the 49th Wing and Team Holloman achieve many firsts, including the first-ever Holloman Community Connections Day and Holloman Ace of Races Marathon. He also led efforts to strengthen ties between the base and the local community, which resulted in Alamogordo, New Mexico being the first unanimously selected winner of the 2023 Altus Trophy by the Altus, Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce.

“If one wants to catch a glimpse of the strength and the beauty of our country, then they need look no further than to the Airmen at Holloman and to the people of Alamogordo,” said Spears. “These Fightin’ 49ers make me proud to be an Airman and the patriots in this city make me proud to be an American.”

Ethridge, previously the deputy commander of the 432nd Wing and 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, thanked his predecessor and voiced his excitement about joining the 49th Wing.

“As we transition to a great power competition, there has never been a greater need for warrior Airmen prepared to fly and fight in order to deter and defeat any potential adversaries of the United States, our allies and partners,” said Ethridge. “We at the 49th Wing are entrusted to train future warfighters and that gives us the opportunity to shape the future of our Air Force.”

Ethridge takes responsibility of the Air Force’s premier training wing for F-16 Viper pilots and MQ-9 Reaper aircrew, with 546 pilots and sensor operators graduating through the 49th Wing in 2023. His new responsibilities also includes providing mission partner support to the many tenant units that also call Holloman home, including the 704th Test Group and the 635th Materiel Maintenance Group.

Col. Kevin P. Auger was formerly the Deputy Commander, 432d Wing and 432d Air Expeditionary Wing, Creech Air Force Base, Nevada. He is responsible for all operations and maintenance of the Air Force’s first Remotely Piloted Aircraft wing, equipped with more than 130 MQ-9 Reaper and RQ-170 Sentinel remotely piloted aircraft. The 432d Wing conducts combat surveillance and attack operations worldwide while also training pilots, sensor operators, and other RPA crew members. As the 432d Wing and 432 AEW Deputy Commander, Col. Auger ledge more than 4,000 active duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, government civilians and contract personnel in three groups and the wing staff. In addition, as the 432 AEW Deputy Commander, he assists in the execution of operational authorities for the Combined Forces and Joint Forces Air Component Commanders for 432d Wing combat units as well as twelve Air National Guard combat MQ-9 units across the United States.

Col. Auger entered the Air Force in 2004 as a distinguished graduate of Syracuse University’s Air Force ROTC program. He has experience across three Major Commands (Air Combat Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, and Air Education and Training Command), with operational flying experience in the F-15E Strike Eagle and combat experience flying the MQ-9 Reaper. Prior to his current role, Col. Auger was Chief, Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) Secretariat Branch, Joint Capabilities Division, Joint Staff J-8, Pentagon, Va.

Col. Auger is a senior pilot with more than 2,100 flight hours in the T-37, T-38C, F-15E and MQ-9.


2004 Bachelor of Arts, French Language, Literature and Culture, top graduate, Syracuse University, N.Y.

2004 Air and Space Basic Course, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

2011 Squadron Officer School, distinguished graduate, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

2012 Master of Military Operational Art and Science, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

2013 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence

2017 Master of Arts, Defense/Strategic Studies, highest distinction, College of Naval Command & Staff, Newport, R.I.

2017 Maritime Advanced Warfighting School, top academic graduate, Naval War College, Newport, R.I.

2022 Master of Science, National Resource Strategy, distinguished graduate, Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.

2023 Master of Business Administration, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Bloomington.

2023 Master of Science, Strategic Management, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Bloomington.


  1. May 2004–September 2004, Casual Lieutenant, AFROTC Detachment 535, Syracuse University, N.Y. (June 2004-August 2004, Student, Language and Area Studies Immersion Program, Tunis, Tunisia)
  2. October 2004–April 2005, Transition Officer, Columbus Air Force Base, Miss.
  3. May 2005–September 2006, Student Pilot, Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Columbus AFB, Miss.
  4. October 2006-December 2007, F-15E Student Pilot, 334th Fighter Squadron, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.
  5. January 2008-October 2010, F-15E Pilot; Assistant Activity Security Manager; Assistant Chief of Scheduling, 389th Fighter Squadron, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho (May 2008-September 2008, F-15E Pilot, Andersen AFB, Guam; May 2009-June 2009, F-15E Pilot, Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait)
  6. November 2010-May 2014, MQ-9 Evaluator Pilot; Group Standardization and Evaluation Officer; Chief of Standardization and Evaluation; Flight Commander, 33d Special Operations Squadron, Cannon AFB, N.M. (October 2011-February 2012, Liaison Officer, Joint Special Operations Air Detachment, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti; August 2013-February 2014, Director of Operations, 33d Expeditionary Special Operations Squadron, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti)
  7. June 2014-December 2014, Chief of Remotely Piloted Aircraft and MC-12 Officer Assignments, Air Force Personnel Center, Joint Base San Antonio Randolph, Texas
  8. January 2015-May 2016, Chief of Strategic Engagement, Air Education and Training Command Commander’s Action Group, Joint Base San Antonio Randolph, Texas
  9. June 2016-September 2017, Graduate Student, College of Naval Command and Staff; Student, Maritime Advanced Warfighting School, Naval War College, Naval Station Newport, R.I.
  10. October 2017-March 2019, Director of Operations, MQ-9 Evaluator Pilot, 17th Attack Squadron, Creech AFB, Nev.
  11. April 2019-April 2021, Commander, 22d Attack Squadron, Creech AFB, Nev.
  12. July 2021-June 2022, Graduate Student, Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.
  13. June 2022-April 2024, Chief, Joint Requirements Oversight Council Secretariat Branch, Joint Capabilities Division, Joint Staff J-8, Pentagon, Va.
  14. May 2024-June 2024 Deputy Commander, 432d Wing & 432d Air Expeditionary Wing, Creech AFB, Nev.
  15. June 2024 to Present, Commander 49th Wing Command and Holloman Air Force Base


  1. June 2022-April 2024, Chief, Joint Requirements Oversight Council Secretariat Branch, Joint Capabilities Division, Joint Staff J-8, Pentagon, Va as a lieutenant colonel and colonel.


Rating: Senior pilot

Flight hours: More than 2,100

Aircraft flown: T-37, T-38C, F-15E and MQ-9


Defense Meritorious Service Medal

Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters

Aerial Achievement Medal with five oak leaf clusters

Joint Service Commendation Medal

Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster


2013 General William R. Looney III Award for Expeditionary Air, Space, and Cyberspace Power Studies

2014 General John P. Jumper Remotely Piloted Aircraft Pilot of the Year Award

2022 Major General Theodore Antonelli Award for Research and Writing Excellence


Second Lieutenant, June 2, 2004

First Lieutenant, June 2, 2006

Captain, June 2, 2008

Major, May 1, 2014

Lieutenant Colonel, November 1, 2017

Colonel, August 1, 2023

More News from Alamogordo
I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified