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Colonel William F. Ray is the Commander of the 56th Maintenance Group, 56th Fighter Wing, Luke AFB, Arizona. The group is responsible for providing all on- & off-equipment maintenance to support the Wing’s fleet of F-16 and F-35 aircraft.  In pursuit of the Wing’s mission to “train the world’s greatest fighter pilots and combat-ready Airmen,” over 2,500 active duty members, reservists belonging to the 944th Maintenance Group, civilians, and partner nation personnel forge a team that are dedicated to providing safe & reliable aircraft.

Colonel Ray is a native of Sumter, South Carolina. A 1994 graduate of the College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, he received his commission through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps in May, 1995. He is a master aircraft maintainer and has served as flight commander, aircraft maintenance unit officer-in-charge, squadron maintenance officer, maintenance operations officer, foreign military sales representative to the Egyptian Air Force, two-time squadron commander, deputy group commander, and group commander spanning multiple assignments. He has experience on F-16A/B/C/D, A-10B/C, F-15C/D/E, HH-60G, U-2S, E-3B, MC-130P, EC-130H, C-130J, KC-135R/T, and C-5A/B aircraft.



1994 Bachelor of Arts in History, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC

2000 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, AL, in residence

2003 Master of Science in Political Science/International Relations, Troy State University, AL

2003 Advanced Maintenance and Munitions Officer School, Nellis AFB, NV

2007 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, AL, by correspondence

2009 U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft Leavenworth, KS

2013 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, AL, by correspondence



  1. June 1995 – June 1998, various positions/aircraft maintenance officer, 9th Special Operations Squadron and 16th Maintenance Squadron, Eglin AFB, FL
  2. July 1998 – November 2000, OIC of QA, 9th Logistics Group; Wing Executive Officer, 9th Reconnaissance Wing; Sortie Generation/OIC, 99th Reconnaissance Squadron, Beale AFB, CA
  3. November 2000 – July 2003, Squadron Maintenance Officer, 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron and 909th Air Refueling Squadron; Operations Officer, 718th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Kadena AB, Japan
  4. July 2003 – December 2003, Student, U.S. Air Force Advanced Maintenance and Munitions Operations School, Nellis AFB, NV
  5. January 2004 – October 2005, AMU/OIC, Operations Officer 436th Component Maintenance Squadron and 436th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Dover AFB, DE
  6. October 2005 – June 2008, Operations Officer, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron; Commander, 20th Maintenance Operations Squadron, Shaw AFB, SC
  7. July 2008 – June 2009, Student, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft Leavenworth, KS
  8. July  2009 – May 2011, Deputy Aviation Branch Chief/Foreign Military Sales F-16 Program Manager, Office of Military Cooperation, U.S. Embassy – Cairo, Egypt
  9. June 2011 – July 2013, Commander, 757th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Nellis AFB, NV
  10. July 2013 – July 2015, Deputy Commander, 51st Maintenance Group, Osan AB, ROK
  11. August 2015 – July 2017, Course Director, Commanders’ Professional Development School, Eaker Center, Maxwell AFB, AL
  12. July 2017 – June 2018, Headquarters Air Mobility Command, A4M Division Chief, Scott AFB, IL
  13. June 2018 – March 2019, Commander, 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Group, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan
  14. June 2019 – July 2021, Commander, 18th Maintenance Group, Kadena AB, Japan
  15. July 2021 – Present, Commander, 56th Maintenance Group, Luke AFB, AZ



Legion of Merit

Bronze Star

Defense Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster

Meritorious Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters

Joint Service Commendation Medal

Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters

Air Force Achievement Medal

National Defense Service Medal with one device

Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with one device

Southwest Asia Service Medal with two devices

Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one device

Iraq Campaign Medal with one device

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

Korean Defense Medal

Air and Space Campaign Medal

Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal with one device

Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” device

NATO Medal

Kuwait Liberation Medal KOSA

Kuwait Liberation Medal Government of Kuwait



Second Lieutenant May 31, 1995

First Lieutenant May 31, 1997

Captain May 31, 1999

Major September 1, 2005

Lieutenant Colonel August 1, 2010

Colonel November 1, 2016


(Current as of July 2021)