Colonel Robert E. Donaldson is the Vice Wing Commander of the 109th Airlift Wing, Stratton Air National Guard Base, New York. He serves      as full assistant to the Wing Commander providing leadership and management of the flying unit while organizing, training and equipping more than 1,160 base personnel to support Department of Defense and New York National Guard requirements. The  Wing  is home to the world’s ten ski-equipped LC-130H aircraft operating from unprepared ice and snow surfaces, annually executing Operation DEEP FREEZE missions in the most austere polar  regions  of  Antarctica and Greenland.

Col. Donaldson commissioned in 1999 from the Academy of Military Science after serving eight years as an enlisted aircrew member with the US Air Force and the New York Air National Guard. As an LC-130H Navigator, he has accumulated nearly 2,000 flying hours supporting Operations DEEP FREEZE and RAVEN DEW in Antarctica and Greenland in addition to mobilizing in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Col. Donaldson has deployed on multiple tours to McMurdo Station, Antarctica as the 13th Air Expeditionary Group Commander for United States Indo-Pacific Command’s Joint Task Force – Support Forces Antarctica. He has served at National Guard Bureau, and in various Air Force Component, Numbered Air Force, and Wing level rated, staff and command roles and responsibilities.

Prior to his current position, Col. Donaldson was the Director of Staff at New York’s Joint Force Headquarters in Latham, New York.  As Director of Staff, he served as the principal advisor to the New York Air National Guard Commander, responsible for the Air National Guard’s largest state contingent of 5,800 Air National Guard service-members spanning 5 operational Wings, 4 geographically separated units and the Eastern Air Defense Sector.





Basic Military Training, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas


Enlisted Aircrew Undergraduate Training, Sheppard AFB, Texas


Medical Service Apprenticeship School, Sheppard AFB, Texas


Airman Leadership School, Hanscom AFB, Mass.


Associate of Science Degree, Math-Science, Hudson Valley Community College, Troy, N.Y.


Bachelor of Science Degree, Civil Engineering, Union College, Schenectady, N.Y.


Academy of Military Science, McGhee-Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tenn.


Joint Undergraduate Navigator Training, Randolph AFB, Texas


Juris Doctor Degree, Law, Albany Law School, Albany, N.Y.


Squadron Officer School, by correspondence


Naval Command and Staff College, Naval War College, Newport, R.I.


Master of Arts Degree, National Security and Strategic Studies, Naval War College, Newport, R.I.


School of Advanced Air & Space Studies, Maxwell AFB, Ala.


Master of Philosophy Degree, Military Strategy, School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Maxwell AFB, Ala.


Reserve Component National Security Course, National Defense University, Washington, D.C.


Air War College, by correspondence


Joint Capabilities Requirements Manager Course, Ft. Eustis, Va.


Contingency Wartime Planning Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.


Civil Engineer Officer Course, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio


Accelerated Aircraft Maintenance Officer Course, Sheppard AFB, Texas


Navigator Requalification Course, Little Rock AFB, Ark.


Commander Development Course, Joint Base Andrews, Md.


Safety & Accident Investigation Board President Course, Joint Base Andrews, Md.


Joint and Combined Warfighting School – JPME II, Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va.


National Security Management Course – Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs,Syracuse University, N.Y. 


Level IV Anti-Terrorism Executive Seminar, McLean, Va.


Joint Task Force Commander Training Course, Peterson AFB, Colo.



  1. June 1991 – May 1992, Airborne Comm. Systems Operator, 4th Airborne Command and Control Squadron, Ellsworth AFB, S.D.
  2. May 1992 – February 1993, Airborne Comm. Systems Operator, 1st Airborne Command and Control Squadron, Offutt AFB, Neb.
  3. February 1993 – August 1996, Aeromedical Evacuation Technician, 139th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, Stratton ANGB, N.Y.
  4. August 1996 – August 1999, AET Instructor, 139th AES, Stratton ANGB, N.Y.
  5. August 1999 – March 2001, Student, Joint Undergraduate Navigator Training, Randolph AFB, Texas
  6. March 2001 – July 2008, LC-130H Navigator, Unit Deployment Manager, 139th Airlift Squadron, Stratton ANGB, N.Y.
  7. July 2008 – July 2010, LC-130H Senior Navigator, Supervisor of Flying, 139th AS, Stratton ANGB, N.Y.
  8. February 2009 – November 2009, C-130 Functional Area Manager and Scheduler, NGB/A3XO, Air National Guard Readiness Center, Joint Base Andrews, Md. (June 2009 – August 2009, C-130 Airlift Scheduler, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan)
  9. February 2010 – July 2010, Community Manager, 109th Airlift Wing, Stratton ANGB, N.Y.
  10. July 2010 - June 2011, Student, Naval War College, Newport, R.I.
  11. June 2011 – June 2012, Student, School of Advanced Air & Space Studies, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
  12. June 2012 – August 2014, Director of the Commander’s Action Group, Tyndall AFB, Fla.
  13. August 2014 – July 2015, Chief-Global Force Management & Mobilizations Branch (NGB/A3XW), Air National Guard Readiness Center, Joint Base Andrews, Md.
  14. July 2015 – September 2016, 109th Civil Engineer Squadron Commander & Base Civil Engineer, Stratton ANGB, N.Y.
  15. September 2016 – May 2019, Commander, 109th Maintenance Group, Stratton ANGB, N.Y.
  16. May 2019 – December 2020, Director of Staff – Air, New York Joint Force Headquarters, Latham, N.Y.
  17. December 2020 – Present, Vice Commander, 109th Airlift Wing, Stratton ANGB, N.Y.



Rating: Master Navigator Flight hours: Over 2,000
Aircraft Flown: EC-135A, EC-135C, EC-135G, EC-135L, E4B, C-130E, C-130H, LC-130H



Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters Aerial Achievement Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters Air Force Achievement Medal
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with six oak leaf clusters
Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star
Antarctica Service Medal Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal



1995 John Levitow Award, Airman Leadership School, Hanscom AFB, Mass.
1998 Ashraf M. Ghaly Geotechnical Prize, Excellence in Civil Engineering, Union College
2001 Commander’s Trophy, Top Graduate in Joint Undergrad. Navigator Training, Randolph AFB, Texas 2001 Ira J. Adler Award, Top Graduate in Air Force Flying Training, Randolph AFB, Texas
2004 Gabrielli Oral Advocacy Award, Albany Law School, Albany, N.Y.



Second Lieutenant, August 1999
First Lieutenant, August 2001
Captain, January 2004
Major, May 2008
Lieutenant Colonel, August 2012
Colonel, May 2017