Colonel Russell S. Williford is Vice Commander, 341st Missile Wing, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana. The wing's 4,000 personnel defend the United States with combat-ready Airmen and nuclear forces. They are responsible for base support, maintenance, security and operation of 150 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launch facilities located throughout a 13,800 square-mile complex in central Montana.
Colonel Williford entered the Air Force through the Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1999 after graduating from the University of Portland with a Bachelor of Science in Physics. He has extensive experience in nuclear science and missile operations. He served in multiple roles operating the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile weapon system including crew commander, senior crew instructor and Chief of Training at Minot AFB, ND. After completing his Master’s of Science in Nuclear Science at the Air Force Institute of Technology he served as an Air Force Intern on the Joint Staff and Air Staff, later working to establish the Directorate of Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration (AF/A10). After completing his Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering at Oregon State University he served on the Global Strike Command Staff, culminating as the Director of the Applied Capabilities Office responsible for developing and implementing the Commander’s Force Improvement Program which addressed ICBM and Bomber culture, climate, and working environments. He commanded the 320th Missile Squadron at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, and then served as a National Defense Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
Prior to his current assignment, Colonel Williford was the Director of Revitalizing Squadrons, responsible to the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force for developing and implementing cultural changes across the Air Force to increase lethality and readiness.
1998 Bachelor of Science in Physics, University of Portland, Portland, Ore.
2003 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2004 Master of Business Administration, Embry-Riddle University, Minot, N.D.
2006 Master of Science in Nuclear Science, AF Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
2007 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2007 Air Force Strategic Internship Program, Intermediate Developmental Education, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
2009 National Defense University Program for Emerging Leaders in Combating WMD, Ft. McNair, Washington, D.C.
2013 Doctor of Philosophy in Nuclear Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore.
2018 National Defense Fellowship, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Senior Developmental Education, Washington, D.C.
1. July 1999 - February 2000, student, Undergraduate Space, Missile Training, and Minuteman III Initial Qualification Training, Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
2. February 2000 - August 2004, several missile combat crew positions to include Senior Instructor Crew Commander and Chief of Training, 91st Operations Group, Minot AFB, N.D.
3. August 2004 - April 2006, Masters Student, Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
4. April 2006 - July 2006, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Service Chief’s Intern, Arlington, Va
5. August 2006 – December 2006, Air Force Strategic Intern Program, Directorate for Strategic Plans and Policy, Joint Staff, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
6. January 2007 - June 2007, Air Force Strategic Intern Program, Directorate of Operations, Plans and Requirements, Headquarters Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
7. June 2007 - June 2008, Chief, Nuclear Stockpile Programs, Directorate of Operations, Plans and Requirements, Headquarters Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
8. June 2008 - June 2009, Chief, Nuclear Cruise Missile Program Element, Directorate of Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration, Headquarters Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
9. June 2009 - August 2010, Chief, Nuclear Program Integration Branch, Directorate of Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration, Headquarters Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
10. August 2010 - August 2013, Ph.D. Student, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore.
11. August 2013 - March 2014, Chief, Analyses & Assessments Branch, Directorate of Plans, Programs, Requirements and Assessments, Air Force Global Strike Command, Barksdale AFB, La.
12. March 2014 - May 2015, Director, Applied Capabilities Office, Air Force Global Strike Command, Barksdale AFB, La.
13. June 2015 - July 2017, Commander, 320th Missile Squadron, 90th Missile Wing, Francis E. Warren AFB, Wyo.
14. July 2017 - April 2018, National Defense Fellow, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C.
15. May 2018 - June 2019, Director, Revitalizing Squadrons, Headquarters Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
16. June 2019 - Present, Vice Commander, 341st Missile Wing, Malmstrom AFB, Mont.
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal
Combat Readiness Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal with 'N' Device
General Thomas S. Power Award for Best ICBM Crew in the Air Force, 2004
Air Force Nuclear Deterrence Operations Professional Team Award, 2014
Air Force Global Strike Command General Larry D. Welch Award, 2014
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant March 17, 1999
First Lieutenant March 17, 2001
Captain March 17, 2003
Major October 1, 2008
Lieutenant Colonel November 1, 2013
Colonel May 1, 2018
(Current as of December 2019)