Meet the 83rd FWS Commander: Lt. Col. Matt Bradley

Lt. Col. Matt Bradley, 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron commander.

Lt. Col. Matt Bradley, 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron commander.

Colonel Scott Ward, 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group commander, passes the 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron guidon to Lt. Col. Matthew Bradley who assumed command of the 83rd FWS in a change of command ceremony June 30, as Chief Master Sgt. John Thomas, 83rd FWS superintendent looks on. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sergio Gamboa)

Colonel Scott Ward, 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group commander, passes the 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron guidon to Lt. Col. Matthew Bradley who assumed command of the 83rd FWS in a change of command ceremony June 30, as Chief Master Sgt. John Thomas, 83rd FWS superintendent looks on. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sergio Gamboa)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

With his third assignment at Tyndall, Lt. Col. Matt Bradley, 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron commander, and his family are happy to call the beaches of Florida home.

After commissioning through the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo., Bradley first arrived at Tyndall as an F-15C Eagle student pilot in 1999. His return trips in 2003 and 2012 had him filling a variety of roles as a flight commander in the 325th Operations Support Squadron and as the 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron operations director.

"I've never had a bad assignment, even while at the Pentagon," Bradley said. "The Air Force has great opportunities, and we are now proud Florida residents."

Being part of the local community and the Air Force family holds special meaning for Bradley. Both his brother and father proudly served the country, he said. In fact,  he cannot remember a time when he didn't want to take to the skies as a pilot after flying from Guam, where he was born, and all around the United States.

"In the fourth grade, I found a book that said everyone that went to the Air Force Academy becomes a pilot. I was in," he said. "Later on, my motives changed to family tradition, mission and serving the nation."

Family tradition plays a huge role in Bradley's commanding philosophy.

"There are a million miracles that have to happen in order for us to fire one missile, and we fire 300 a year," he said.

He explained that taking care of the 78 family members in the squadron takes care of the vital mission of evaluating defense department and partner nation personnel, fighters, missiles and gunnery, in realistic scenarios.

The 83rd FWS's air to air missile results are reported directly to the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force every year.

"Having been a customer of the squadron in the past, it is amazing to see what it takes to make it happen," Bradley said. "My biggest goal is to have our Airmen look back at their time in the Air Force, whether it is four years or 30, and love their family, what they did and the Air Force. The most exciting part of this job to me is serving with these 78 people."

In his spare time, Bradley can be found spending time with his wife and three sons, whether it is active in their sporting events or out on their boat.