Colonel John Traxler is currently the Battle-field Airman (BA) Director at AETC HQ, Randolph AFB, Texas. In this capacity, he is responsible for policy and program oversight/ synchronization for all command BA activities from scout/recruit/develop through the delivery of an initial skills BA graduate, as well as advanced/supplemental BA courses under AETC’s purview.

Colonel Traxler has served as both a Combat Control Operator and as a Special Tactics Officer. He has commanded multiple special operations squadrons, and his career has included ground combat operations in Somalia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He has also conduct-ed numerous Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations in Africa, the Mid-dle East and Asia.

While deployed to Somalia in support of OPERATIONS PROVIDE RELIEF and RESTORE HOPE, then Airman First Class Traxler controlled more than 600 sorties, participating in vital humanitarian, rescue, military, and ground combat operations. As Special Tactics Mission Commander and Combat Search and Rescue Team Leader during OPERATION ALLIED FORCE, he participated in numerous classified air and ground missions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. During OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, he served as the Fire Support Officer for the Coalition Joint Special Operations Task Force, South (Task Force K-BAR). While on the ground in Afghanistan, he deployed on numerous classified missions with elite multina-tional special operations units in direct combat. He led development of the Afghanistan National Army Commando Program, and served as US Embassy and NATO ISAF LNO in Kabul. During OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM he controlled numerous Close Air Sup-port sorties in support of Navy Special Warfare Task Group CENT. Additionally, Colonel Traxler has served as Mission Commander for multiple Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief operations, to include earthquake relief in Indonesia and the relief hub following the disastrous 9.0 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown in the Miyagi Prefecture of Japan.


1992 Combat Control/Pararescue Indoctrination Course and Training Pipeline, Lackland AFB, Texas

1997 Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering, Washington State University (ROTC)

1998 Naval Special Warfare SEAL (BUDS) Training, Class 217 (Ph II), NAB Coronado, Calif.

2003 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

2006 Air Force Intern Program (IDE)

2006 Masters Degree, Organizational Management, The George Washington University

2006 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

2009 Joint & Combined Warfighting School (JPME II), Joint Forces Staff College, Nor-folk, Va.

2014 National Defense Fellow: Coursework conducted at The Fletcher School of Inter-national Law & Diplomacy, Tufts, Harvard University, and The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


1. June 1992–August 1994, Combat Control Operator, 1622nd CCS, McChord AFB, Wash.

2. July 1997–September 2000, Special Tactics Operator, 321st STS, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, United Kingdom

3. September 2000–August 2003, Operations Flight Commander and Instructor, Joint Firepower Control Course, 6th Combat Training Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nev.

4. August 2003–August 2004, Terminal Control Operations Branch Chief, HQ AFSOC,

Hurlburt Field, Fla.

5. August 2004–July 2006, Air Force Intern, HQ USAF, Washington D.C.

6. July 2006–July 2009, Central Asian States Operational Planning Team, SOCCENT, MacDill AFB, Fla.

7. July 2009–July 2010, Director of Operations, 320th Special Tactics Squadron,

Kadena AB, Japan

8. July 2010–June 2012, Commander, 320th Special Tactics Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Japan

9. August 2012–August 2013, Commander 17th Air Support Operations Squadron,

Fort Benning, Ga.

10. August 2013–July 2014, Commander 17th Special Tactics Squadron, Fort Benning, Ga.

11. July 2014–August 2015, Senior Fellow, The Fletcher School, Tufts University,

Boston, Mass.

12. August 2015–August 2017, Chief, Ground and Maritime Operations and Fire Sup-port (GMF) Branch, HQ USSOCOM, MacDill AFB, Fla.

13. August 2017–Present, Director, Battlefield Airman, HQ AETC, Joint Base San An-tonio-Randolph AFB, Texas


Bronze Star

Defense Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster

Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters

Joint Service Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster

Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters

Navy Commendation Medal with "V" device

Air Force Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters

Air Force Combat Action Medal

Navy/Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbon

Navy Presidential Unit Citation with device

Humanitarian Service Medal with three devices

United Nations Medal

NATO Medal


Second Lieutenant July 31, 1997

First Lieutenant July 31, 1999

Captain July 31, 2001

Major May 1, 2007

Lieutenant Colonel Dec. 1, 2011

Colonel Mar. 1, 2018

(Current as of March 2018)