Col. George R. Watkins is the commander, 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. The fighter wing’s mission is to project unrivaled combat airpower for America. The wing is currently transitioning to the F-35A Lightning II aircraft and upon completion, will become the Air Force’s newest operational fighter wing with three F-35A squadrons tasked to maintain combat readiness in support of national defense.

As the installation commander, Colonel Watkins supports the 23,000 Airmen, civilians, contractors and families who call Tyndall AFB home. The 325th FW hosts 19 tenant units from multiple major commands and across several military mission sets. These supported mission partners include First Air Force (Air Forces Northern), the 601st Air Operations Center, the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group, the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, the 337th Air Control Squadron and Silver Flag.

Colonel Watkins graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Arizona, then served at Incirlik Air Base in support of Operation Northern Watch. He graduated Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training as a Distinguished Graduate, then graduated as Outstanding Graduate and Distinguished Graduate from F-16 initial qualification training. He has deployed on combat missions in support of operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Freedom’s Sentinel. He served as the Commander, 34th Fighter Squadron during transition from the F-16 mission to stand-up of the first operational F-35A combat coded squadron, and met the requisites for the historic declaration of Initial Operational Capability by Commander Air Combat Command, Sept. 2, 2016. He next served a joint assignment as Senior Air Force Advisor for Strategy and Force Development, Office of the Secretary of Defense. His most recent assignment was as the commander of the 56th Operations Group at Luke AFB, Arizona.

Colonel Watkins is a graduate of the National War College and a Command Pilot with more than 3,000 hours in F-35 and F-16 aircraft.

1999 B.S., Electrical Engineering, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Arizona
2004 Squadron Officer’s School, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
2006 NATO Tactical Leadership Program, Florennes, Belgium
2007 USAF Fighter Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nevada
2011 M.A., International Relations, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma
2012 Masters of Military Operational Art and Science, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
2014 Air War College, by correspondence
2018 M.S., National Security Strategy, National War College, Fort McNair, Washington D.C.
2020 Senior National Security Fellowship, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Washington D.C.


1. February 2000 - February 2001, Executive Officer, 39th Operations Support Squadron, Incirlik AB, Turkey
2. February 2001 - July 2002, Student, Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, Sheppard AFB, Texas
3. July 2002 - May 2003, Student, F-16 Initial Qualification Training, Luke AFB, Ariz.
4. May 2003 - May 2004, Assistant Chief of Scheduling, Osan AB, Republic of Korea
5. May 2004 - July 2007, Chief of Evaluations and B Flight Commander, 510th FS, Aviano AB, Italy
6. July 2007 - December 2007, Student, USAF Weapons Instructor Course, Nellis AFB, Nev.
7. December 2007 - January 2010, Chief of Weapons and Tactics, 309th FS, Luke AFB, Ariz.
8. January 2010 – July 2012, Chief of Wing Weapons and Tactics, Aviano AB, Italy
9. July 2012 – June 2013, Graduate Student, Air Command and Staff College
10. August 2013 – April 2014, Inspector General, 388th Fighter Wing, Hill AFB, Utah
11. April 2014 – March 2015, Director of Operations, 4th Fighter Squadron, Hill AFB, Utah
12. July 2015 – June 2017, Commander, 34th Fighter Squadron, Hill AFB, Utah
13. August 2017 – June 2018, Graduate Student, National War College, Fort McNair, Washington D.C.
14. July 2018 – June 2020, Strategy and Force Development, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington D.C.
15. July 2020 – June 2022, Commander, 56th Operations Group, Luke AFB, Ariz.
16. June 2022- Present, Commander, 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall AFB, Fla.
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with silver and three bronze oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three bronze stars
Iraq Campaign Medal with bronze star
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
(Current as of August 2023)