Colonel Stephen Lanier is the Commander, 315th Airlift Wing, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. He commands  22 units, comprised of three groups and an Aerospace Medicine Squadron. With a mission to provide unrivaled airlift and agile combat support across the spectrum of military operations, the wing provides worldwide movement of high priority personnel and  cargo. Missions range from local pilot proficiency training, aeromedical evacuation, contingency response and worldwide strategic airlift. 

Col. Lanier previously served as the commander of the  916th Air Refueling Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C., the first unit equipped Wing to receive the KC-46A Pegasus in Air Force Reserve Command.

Colonel Lanier is a 1990 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and joined the Air Force Reserve in 2001 after nearly 11 years on active duty. He earned his Pilot wings as a Distinguished Graduate of UPT Class 91-14 at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.

Col Lanier has extensive experience in all three of the Air Force’s current tankers -- the KC-46A, KC-10A, and KC-135R.  He has deployed in support of multiple overseas contingencies including Operations Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and various others. 

Command Pilot Wings
1990 Bachelor of Science, United States Air Force Academy, Colo.
1996 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
1997 Air Force Advanced Instrument School, Randolph AFB, Texas
2005 AMC Combat Aircrew Tactics Training Course, Air Mobility Warfare Center, N.J.
2007 AF Chief of Safety Course, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
2007 AF Aircraft Mishap Investigation Course, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
2008 ORM Application and Integration Course, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.
2008 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
2013 Air War College, by correspondence
2016 Army War College, by correspondence
2016 Master's Degree, United States Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pa.
2016 Safety & Accident Investigation Board President Course, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
2018 Director of Mobility Forces Course, Hurlburt Field, Fla
  1. August 1990–October 1991, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Laughlin AFB, Texas
  2. October 1991–September 1994, KC-10A Pilot, 9th Air Refueling Squadron, March AFB, Calif.
  3. October 1994–December 1997, KC-10A Instructor Pilot and Chief of Aircrew Training, 2nd Air Refueling Squadron, McGuire AFB, N.J.
  4. January 1998–February 2001, T-34C Instructor/Evaluator Pilot, Wing T-34C Standardization Officer, Training Air Wing 5, Whiting Naval Air Station, Fla.
  5. March 2001–February 2007, KC-135R Instructor/Evaluator Pilot and Chief Pilot, 77th Air Refueling Squadron, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.
  6. March 2007–February 2009, 916th Air Refueling Wing Chief of Safety, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.
  7. March 2009–December 2011, KC-135R Instructor/Evaluator Pilot and Chief Pilot, 77th Air Refueling Squadron, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C. (Deployed February 2011–April 2011, Commander, 90th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey)
  8. January 2012–June 2014, Commander, 77th Air Refueling Squadron, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.
  9. July 2014–May 2017, Director of Safety, Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command, Robins AFB, Ga.
  10. June 2017–December 2019, Commander, 315th Operations Group, Joint Base Charleston, S.C.
  11. (May 2019–September 2019, Director of Mobility Forces, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, Al-Udeid Air Base, Qatar)
  12. December 2019-March 2024, Commander, 916th Air Refueling Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.
  13. March 2024-Present, Commander, 315th Airlift Wing, Joint Base Charleston, S.C.
Rating:  Command Pilot
Flight Hours:  More than 5,500
Aircraft Flown:  T-37, T-38, KC-10A, C-12F, T-34C, KC-135R, C-17, KC-46A
Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal with four devices
Aerial Achievement Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal with device
Navy Achievement Medal
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with seven devices
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Southwest Asia Service Medal with device
Kosovo Campaign Medal with device
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border
Second Lieutenant May 30, 1990
First Lieutenant May 30, 1992
Captain May 30, 1994
Major Oct 1, 2002
Lieutenant Colonel Aug 14, 2008
Colonel July 2, 2014

(Current as of March 2024)

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