CMSgt John T. Pilla III is the Command Chief Master Sergeant, 58th Special Operations Wing, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. He is the senior enlisted leader responsible to the Commander for the professional development, military readiness, and mission effectiveness of more than 2,400 Airmen administering more than 118 academic courses and training over 19,000 students annually. The wing trains mission-ready special operations, personnel recovery, missile site support, UH-1 distinguished visitor airlift aircrews, SERE Specialists, and Combat Rescue Officers for the world’s best Air and Space Force. The wing’s 12 squadrons provide and support flight training for 32 different crew positions in CV-22B, TH/UH-1H/N, HH-60G/W and MC/HC-130J aircraft.
Chief Pilla was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He entered the Air Force in October 1998 and graduated from Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal in November 1999. His background includes various duties and leadership positions within the Explosive Ordnance Disposal career field. He has deployed multiple times in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM, including assignments to Joint Task Force Troy and Joint Task Force Paladin where he worked with counterparts from all four military branches and a variety of coalition partners. Prior to assuming his current position, Chief Pilla served as the Superintendent, 366th Training Squadron, Detachment 3 at Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
2002 Airman Leadership School, Whiteman Air Force Base (AFB), Mo.
2003 Associate in Applied Science in Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), Community College of the Air Force
2003 Associate in Arts in General Studies, State Fair Community College, Sedalia, Mo.
2010 Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Maxwell AFB-Gunter Annex, Ala.
2010 Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education Course
2014 Civil Engineer Superintendent Course, Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
2014 Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Maxwell AFB-Gunter Annex, Ala.
2015 Bachelor of Arts Degree in Homeland Security, American Military University, Charles Town, W.Va.
2016 Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education II Course
2018 Air Force Chief Leadership Course, Maxwell AFB-Gunter Annex, Ala.
2019 Command Chief Master Sergeants Training Course, Andrews AFB, Va.
2020 Senior Enlisted Legal Orientation Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala
2020 National & International Security Leadership Seminar, Alan L. Freed Associates, Washington D.C.
1. October 1998 - November 1998, Trainee, Basic Military Training, Lackland AFB, Texas
2. November 1998 - October 1999, Student, NAVSCOLEOD, Eglin AFB, Fla.
3. November 1999 - November 2003, EOD Journeyman, 509th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES), Whiteman AFB, Mo. (March 2002 - June 2002, EOD Journeyman, 384th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Flight, Classified Location) (March 2003 - June 2003, Airborne RED HORSE Team Member, 1st Expeditionary RED HORSE Group, Al Udeid AB, Qatar)
4. November 2003 - November 2005, Chief, EOD Support Element, 39th CES, Incirlik Air Base (AB), Turkey
5. November 2005 - November 2008, Instructor, EOD Contingency Training, 86th Construction and Training
Squadron, Ramstein AB, Germany (January 2007 - June 2007, EOD Team Leader, Joint Task Force Troy, 332nd Expeditionary CES, Balad AB, Iraq)
6. November 2008 - July 2011, Manager, EOD Logistics, 633d CES, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. (September 2009 - December 2009, EOD Team Leader, Combined Joint Task Force Paladin, Kandahar AB, Afghanistan)
7. August 2011 - January 2014, Command EOD Manager, Operations and Training, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. (October 2011 - November 2011, EOD Team Leader, Muwaffaz Al Salti AB, Jordan) (November 2012 - May 2013, Battle Watch NCO/Forward Operating Base Spin Boldak NCOIC, Joint Task Force Paladin, Kandahar AB, Afghanistan)
8. February 2014 - July 2017, Flight Chief, EOD, 786th CES, Ramstein AB, Germany
9. July 2017 – August 2020, Superintendent, 366th Training Squadron, Detachment 3, Eglin AFB, Fla.
10. August 2020 – Present, Command Chief, 58th Special Operations Wing, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Bronze Star with one oak leaf cluster
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Army Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Army Achievement Medal
Navy Achievement Medal
Air Force Combat Action Medal
2003 John L. Levitow Award, Airman Leadership School
2003 Leadership Award, Airman Leadership School
2007 86th Airlift Wing Noncommissioned Officer of the Year
2010 Distinguished Graduate, Noncommissioned Officer Academy
2010 633d Air Base Wing Lance P. Sijan Award
2010 633d Air Base Wing Noncommissioned Officer of the Year
2014 Distinguished Graduate, Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy
2015 86th Civil Engineer Group Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Chief Master Sergeant August 1, 2017
(Current as of March 2021)