Col. Christopher T. Lay is the Commander, 934th Airlift Wing, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Air Reserve Station, Minnesota. As the commander, Col. Lay is responsible for organizing, training, and equipping combat-ready Airmen, able to provide tactical airlift and agile combat support to the combatant commanders. The 934th Airlift Wing is comprised of four Groups—Operations, Maintenance, Mission Support, and Medical—with approximately 1600 Airmen, and reports directly to 22nd Air Force, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia.
Col. Lay graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Military History and a Russian minor. After spending seven years on active duty, Col. Lay entered the Air Force Reserve in 2003 and joined the 302nd Airlift Wing, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Since then, he has completed a Masters of Arts in History from the University of Central Arkansas, Conway, Ark., graduated as an outstanding graduate from the United States Air Force Weapons Instructor Course, and attended the US Army War College as a Carlisle Scholar. He has performed duties as an instructor navigator, weapons officer, flight safety officer, deployed mission commander for aerial fire-fighting missions, and as an Operations Support Squadron commander. He served as an Air Component Coordination Element and Air Force Liaison Officer directly supporting the commander of the United States and Republic of Korea Combined Forces Command's Air Component Command. Col Lay also completed a Pentagon assignment as the Director, Headquarters Air Force, Executive Secretariat, Pentagon, Washington D.C., working for the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, providing strategic correspondence support for senior Air Force leaders. He recently deployed as the Commander, 385th Air Expeditionary Group, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, where he commanded over 800 Airmen flying and maintaining Air Mobility Command’s forward-deployed C-130H, C-17, KC-135, and KC-10 operations in U.S. Central Command.
Col. Lay is a master navigator with more than 3,000 flight hours. Prior to his current position, Col. Lay was the commander, 913th Airlift Group, Little Rock AFB, Arkansas—the U.S. Air Force’s only classic association of tactical C-130J aircraft.
1996 Bachelor of Science, History, Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
1997 Joint Undergraduate Navigator Training, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas
1998 C-130 Navigator Qualification Training, Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.
2000 C-130 Instructor School, Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.
2001 Flight Safety Officer School, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.
2001 Squadron Officer School, Air University correspondence program
2004 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2006 Master of Arts, History, University of Central Arkansas, Conway, Ark.
2006 Air Command and Staff College, Air University correspondence program
2007 Weapons Instructor School, Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.
2013 Air War College, Air University correspondence program
2015 Master of Arts, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Penn.
Presently, ABD Ph.D. candidate, Diplomatic History, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo.
1. August 1996 – December 1997, Student, Joint Undergraduate Navigator Training, Pensacola Naval Air Station, Fla., and Randolph Air Force Base, Tex.
2. December 1997 – May 1998, Student, C-130 Navigator, Qualification Training, Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.
3. May 1998 – June 2001, wing tactics officer and unit deployment monitor, 43rd Operations Support Squadron and 2nd Airlift Squadron, Pope Air Force Base, N.C.
4. June 2001 – May 2003, C-130E instructor navigator, class commander and squadron flight safety officer, 62nd Airlift Squadron, Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.
5. May 2003 – June 2012, Weapons Officer, flight commander, and mission commander, 731st Airlift Squadron and 302nd Operations Support Squadron, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
6. June 2012 – June 2014, Commander, 302nd Operations Support Squadron, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.
7. June 2014 – June 2015, Student, Carlisle Scholar Program, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Penn.
8. June 2015 – June 2017, Director, Headquarters Air Force, Executive Secretariat, Pentagon, Washington D.C.
9. June 2017 – July 2019, Commander, 913th Airlift Group, Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.
10. July 2019 – December 2019, Commander, 385th Air Expeditionary Group, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar
11. January 2020 – Present, Commander, 934th Airlift Wing, Minneapolis-St Paul IAP ARS, Minn.
Rating: Master Navigator
Flight hours: More than 3,000
Aircraft Flown: C-130E, C-130H
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Aerial Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Meritorious Unit Award
Combat Readiness Medal with five oak leaf clusters
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with one device
Kosovo Campaign Medal with two devices
Iraq Campaign Medal with one device
1995 Research internship at Marine Corps Historical Center, Washington, D.C.
2000 Company Grade Officer of the Year, 2nd Airlift Squadron
2000 Instructor Navigator of the Year, 21st Air Force
2002 Language-Area Submersion and Immersion program, Saint Petersburg, Russia
2008-2009 Recipient of International Affairs teaching assistant position, University of Colorado, Boulder
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant May 29, 1996
First Lieutenant May 29, 1998
Captain May 29, 2000
Major March 31, 2005
Lieutenant Colonel March 31, 2012
Colonel May 1, 2017
(Current as of May 2020)