HomeAbout UsBiographiesDisplay

COLONEL RUSSELL S. WILLIFORD

PRINT | E-MAIL

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.

EDUCATION
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.

ASSIGNMENTS
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)

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.