Colonel Esther Sablan is the Commander of the 150th Special Operations Wing, New Mexico Air National Guard, Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico. The 150th Special Operations Wing generates ready Airmen in a variety of skilled career fields for state and federal missions. The 150 SOW, as a Total Force Associate unit, in conjunction with the 58th Special Operations Wing, has a federal mission to train combat-ready Personnel Recovery and Special Operations aircrews and sustain a fleet of H/MC-130J, CV-22, HH-60G, and RC-26 aircraft. The wing also supports federal Intelligence, Targeting, Medical, Security, and Homeland Defense missions. The 150th Special Operations Wing’s state mission is to preserve peace and public safety and protect lives and property.
Colonel Sablan commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and joined the California Air National Guard in 1997, where she held several operational and leadership positions. As an HH-60G helicopter pilot, Colonel Sablan deployed in support of Personnel Recovery and Casualty Evacuation operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In her civilian career, Colonel Sablan worked as an aerospace systems engineer and operations research analyst in the defense industry.
In her previous assignment, Colonel Sablan served as Chief of the Force Planning, Strategic Basing, and Mission Conversion Division at the Air National Guard Readiness Center, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. In that role, she led Total Force Integration and force structure planning for the 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. She has also previously served as Chief of Readiness and Family Programs for the National Guard Bureau Joint Staff at the Herbert R. Temple Jr. Army National Guard Readiness Center in Arlington, Virginia.
1997 Bachelor of Science, Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT, Cambridge, Mass.
1997 Master of Science, Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT, Cambridge, Mass.
1998 Aircraft Maintenance Officers Course, Sheppard AFB, Texas
2000 Honors Cooperative Program, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.
2001 Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Fort Rucker, Ala.
2005 Squadron Officer School, by correspondence
2005 Engineering Design Graduate Program, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
2012 Maintenance Officer Intermediate Course, Sheppard AFB, Texas
2012 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
2013 Master of Arts (Highest Academic Distinction), Military Operational Art and Science, Air University
2014 AF Safety Center, Safety and Accident Investigation Board President Course, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
2016 Master of Science, National Resource Strategy, Eisenhower School, Washington, D.C.
1. August 1997–March 2000, Maintenance Officer, 129th Maintenance Squadron, Moffett FAF, Calif.
2. April 2000–October 2000, Student, Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Vance AFB, Okla.
3. December 2000–June 2001, Student, Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Fort Rucker, Ala.
4. September 2001–April 2002, Student, HH-60G Mission Qualification Training, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
5. April 2002–March 2004, HH-60G Pilot, 129th Rescue Squadron, Moffett FAF, Calif.
6. April 2004–March 2007, IMA, 21st Special Operations Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, UK
7. December 2008–December 2011, Pilot Section Supervisor, 129th Rescue Squadron, Moffett FAF, Calif.
8. January 2012–October 2012, Commander, 129th Maintenance Operations Flight, Moffett FAF, Calif.
9. October 2012–November 2014, Commander, 129th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Moffett FAF, Calif.
10. November 2014–July 2015, Commander, 129th Maintenance Squadron, Moffett FAF, Calif.
11. July 2015–June 2016, Student, Eisenhower School, National Defense University, Washington, D.C.
12. June 2016–June 2017, Branch Chief, National Guard Readiness and Family Programs, Arlington, Va.
13. July 2017–August 2018, Division Chief, Force Planning and Strategic Basing, JB Andrews, Md.
14. August 2018–Present, Commander 150th Special Operations Wing, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with Valor
Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters
National Defense Service Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
1997 Distinguished Graduate, MIT Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps
1998 Distinguished Graduate, USAF Aircraft Maintenance Officers Course
1998 Company Grade Officer of the Year, Tennessee Ernie Ford Chapter of the Air Force Association
2001 Distinguished Graduate, USAF Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training
2003 Company Grade Officer of the Year, 129th Rescue Wing
2004 Company Grade Officer of the Year, California Air Force Association
2011 Field Grade Officer of the Year, Tennessee Ernie Ford Chapter of the Air Force Association
2012 Field Grade Officer of the Year, 129th Rescue Wing
2013 Field Grade Officer of the Year, 129th Rescue Wing
2014 Field Grade Officer of the Year, California Air Force Association
2016 Distinguished Graduate, Eisenhower School of National Security and Resource Strategy
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND AFFILIATIONS
Air Force Association, Life Member
American Helicopter Society
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Life Member
American Veterans, Life Member
Association of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and Eisenhower School, Life Member
Association of MIT Alumnae, Life Member
Military Officers Association of America, Life Member
Military Operations Research Society
National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA)
National Guard Association of the United States, Life Member
The Ninety-Nines: International Organization of Women Pilots
USAF Helicopter Pilot Association
Veterans of Foreign Wars, Life Member
NDIA Women in Defense
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant, June 6, 1997
First Lieutenant, June 6, 1999
Captain, Aug. 4, 2001
Major, Oct. 1, 2009
Lieutenant Colonel, Nov. 2, 2013
Colonel, Dec. 2, 2017
(Current as of September 2018)