Colonel James J. Fontanella is the Commander of the 315th Airlift Wing, Joint Base Charleston, S.C. He commands over 2,500 reserve personnel who augment the active-duty Air Force's strategic airlift, airdrop and aeromedical evacuation forces in both peacetime and contingency operations. These missions support combat operations and U.S.-sponsored humanitarian relief efforts.

Col. Fontanella was commissioned as a Naval officer upon graduation from the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. in May 1988. He completed training in the T-34C and the TH-57B/C, and was designated as a Naval aviator in 1990. He earned qualification in the CH-53E helicopter at HC-1, NAS North Island, Calif., whose primary missions were Combat Support, Heavy Lift and Carrier Vertical Onboard Delivery. He transitioned to the Airborne Mine Countermeasures mission in the MH-53E helicopter at HM-15 in NAS Alameda, Calif. and deployed on numerous shipboard detachments in support of world-wide JCS-directed 72-hour rapid response AMCM taskings. Col. Fontanella completed an interservice transfer to the Air Force Reserve in January 2001. He completed C-5 mission qualification in the 301st Airlift Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. and was hired as a full-time Air Reserve Technician while performing duties as flight commander, assistant operations officer and operations officer. He was selected as operations and training officer of the 312th Airlift Squadron in April 2006, where he was responsible for the day to day operations of the largest flying squadron in Air Force Reserve Command's largest associate wing. In June 2007, Col. Fontanella assumed duties as deputy operations group commander, 349th Operations Group, Travis AFB, Calif., and completed mission qualification in the KC-10. He was responsible for organizing, training and equipping seven units executing missions with C-17, C-5 and KC-10 aircraft. He ensured constant readiness in support of Joint Chiefs of Staff mobility operations plans as directed by the Department of Defense. During this time, he was detailed as interim 349th Operations Group commander, and as the 349th Mission Support Group deputy commander for Transportation to provide leadership to three Aerial Port Squadrons.

Prior to his current assignment, Col. Fontanella was chief, Programs and Requirements Division, Office of Air Force Reserve, The Pentagon, Washington DC. He was responsible for developing the Air Force Reserve's Program Objective Memorandum supporting 72,400 AFR personnel and 377 aircraft for nine major and five unified commands.

1988 Bachelor of Science in General Engineering, U.S. Naval Academy
2005 Air Command and Staff College (correspondence)
2008 Air War College (correspondence)
2008 Reserve Components National Security Course, National Defense University
2011 Master of Science in National Resource Strategy, Industrial College of the Armed Forces

1. May 1988 - Oct. 1989, Student, Primary and Intermediate Pilot Training, Training Squadron 27, NAS Corpus Christi, Texas
2. Oct. 1989 - Aug. 1990, Student, Advanced Helicopter Training, Helicopter Training Squadron 18, NAS Whiting Field, Fla.
3. Sept. 1990 - July 1991, Student, Fleet Replacement Pilot Training, Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 12, NAS Norfolk, Va.
4. Aug. 1991 - Oct. 1992, CH-53E Copilot, Aircraft Maintenance Division Officer, Helicopter Support Squadron 1, NAS North Island, Calif.
5. Oct. 1992 - July 1993, Student, Fleet Replacement Pilot Training, Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 12, NAS Norfolk, Va.
6. Aug. 1993 - June 1996, MH-53E Mission Commander, NATOPS Officer, Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 15, NAS Alameda, Calif.
7. July 1996 - Aug. 1999, Enlisted Programs Officer and Executive Officer, Navy Recruiting District San Francisco, Oakland, Calif.
8. Jan. 2001 - April 2006, C-5 Instructor Pilot, Assistant Operations Officer, 301st Airlift Squadron, Travis AFB, Calif.
9. April 2006 - June 2007, C-5 Examiner Pilot, Operations and Training Officer, 312th AS, Travis AFB, Calif.
10. June 2007- July 2010, KC-10 Pilot, Deputy Group Commander, 349th OG, Travis AFB, Calif.
11. July 2010 - June 2011, Student, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington DC
12. June 2010 - Aug. 2012, Chief, Programs and Requirements Division, Office of the Air Force Reserve, The Pentagon, Washington DC
13. Sept. 2012 - Present, Commander, 315th Airlift Wing, Joint Base Charleston, S.C.

Rating: Command Pilot
Flight hours: Nearly 3,000 military flight hours, over 300 combat and combat support hours, and nearly 500 civilian flight hours
Aircraft flown: T-34C, TH-57B/C, CH-53E, MH-53E, C-5A/B/C, KC-10, and C-17

Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal
Navy Commendation Medal
Navy Achievement Medal with gold star
AF Outstanding Unit Award with Valor Device with seven oak leaf clusters
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation with three bronze stars
Combat Readiness Medal with three oak leaf clusters
National Defense Service Medal with bronze star
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
AF Longevity Service with four oak leaf clusters
Navy Recruiting Ribbon
Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Hourglass Device and one 'M' Device
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon (Pistol)
Navy Pistol Shot Medal
Navy Expert Rifle Medal

Ensign May 25, 1988
Lieutenant (Junior Grade) May 25, 1990
Lieutenant May 25, 1992
Lieutenant Commander Nov 1, 1998
Major Jan 10, 2001
Lieutenant Colonel Nov 1, 2005
Colonel Jun 15, 2011

(Current as of March 2013)

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