Military Report: Carson City native named 325th Fighter Wing vice commander
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The 325th Fighter Wing welcomed Carson City native Col. Orlando Sanchez, Jr., as vice commander Feb. 14.
Colonel Sanchez is a 1989 graduate of Carson City High School, and son to Orlando and Susan Sanchez. He replaced Col. Bradley McCoy, who retired in a ceremony Jan. 21 on Tyndall. Colonel Sanchez joins Team Tyndall after spending the last seven months in Rome at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Defense College, where he represented the United States among 30 other countries and traveled to 21 diplomatic regions as part of his study. His arrival at Tyndall marks his third tour of duty on the Emerald Coast.
“I was a student at Tyndall in 1994 and an instructor here in 1998 to 2002, so I’m no stranger to Tyndall,” said Sanchez. “Two of my children were born here and it really feels like coming home. We have some great Air Force roots and experiences here, so I’m excited to return and see the changes Tyndall undergoes.”
As vice commander, Colonel Sanchez assists the wing commander in providing air dominance training for F-22 Raptor pilots, maintenance personnel and air battle managers to support the combat Air Force. Other specialties trained under the 325th FW include F-22 and F-15C intelligence training, F-22 crew chief training and officer and enlisted air traffic controller training.
In the absence of the wing commander, Colonel Sanchez is responsible for ensuring the readiness and well being of more than 16,000 active duty, reserve, retiree and civilian personnel and their families. Additionally, the 325th FW is host to more than 30 tenant organizations.
“It’s great to have Colonel Sanchez on board with us here at Tyndall,” said Brig. Gen. James S. Browne, 325th FW commander. “He brings a wealth of leadership and operational expertise to Team Tyndall, and he will help lead us in achieving new heights executing our mission, caring for our airmen and families and being valued partners in the local communities.”
Colonel Sanchez received a commission in the U.S. Air Force after earning a bachelor of science degree from the United States Air Force Academy in 1993. After graduating undergraduate pilot training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, he went on to become a command pilot with more than 2,100 flying hours in the F-15 Eagle models A/B/C/D and the F-22 Raptor.
“Tyndall has a strong tradition of preparing airmen and sending them out to the operational and combat Air Force to be great leaders,” Colonel Sanchez said. “I’m excited to be part of the process of making airmen and watching them grow and succeed in the demanding environment our Air Force operates in today.”
His major awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal, the Aerial Achievement Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal and an Air Force Achievement Medal.
“My goal is to provide a positive influence and support the wing as it continues to provide air dominance for America,” he said.