Colonel James D. Cleet is the Vice Commander of the 133rd Airlift Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard, St. Paul, Minn. He assumed his current position in Sept. 2018 and is responsible for oversight of the Wing Headquarters’ units and staff to include the Comptroller Flight, Wing Safety, Chaplain, Public Affairs, and multiple programs including Equal Opportunity, Community Action, and Diversity. The 133rd AW is comprised of the 133rd Operations Group, 133rd Maintenance Group, 133rd Medical Group, and the 133rd Mission Support Group. In addition, the 133rd AW provides support to the 210th Engineering Installation Squadron and the 208th Weather Flight. The 133rd AW is responsible for organizing, equipping and training personnel for worldwide deployments to provide necessary combat-ready forces to combatant commanders, Air Mobility Command and the state of Minnesota. Colonel Cleet is responsible for the war fighting capability and operational readiness of unit assigned C-130 aircraft, equipment and personnel.
Colonel Cleet entered the Air Force in 1991 as a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. He graduated from Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas on Sept. 12, 1992 and was appointed as Lead Flight Test Engineer on the B-2A Stealth Bomber, Air Force Materiel Command. Colonel Cleet completed initial F-16 training in April 1996. Subsequently, he served as an operational F-16 pilot with assignments in PACAF, USAFE, ACC, AFCENT and the Air National Guard while supporting Operations SOUTHERN WATCH, DESERT FOX, NORTHERN WATCH, IRAQI FREEDOM, ENDURING FREEDOM, and NOBLE EAGLE. He is a command pilot with more than 3,800 flying hours in the C-130 and F-16 and has flown more than 200 combat sorties, totaling more than 760 combat hours.
Colonel Cleet joined the MNANG on Aug. 17, 2004 and has served as a Weapons Officer, Director of Operations, Squadron Commander at the 148th Fighter Wing, Director of Operations and Joint Force Headquarters, and Air Operations Officer at the 133rd Operations Group. Prior to his current assignment, Colonel Cleet was the Group Commander for the 133rd Operations Group.
1991 Bachelor of Science, United States Air Force Academy, Honor Graduate
1997 Squadron Officers School, Distinguished Graduate
1999 Air Force Weapons Instructor Course
2007 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
2009 Air War College, by correspondence
2016 Joint Combined Warfighting School, Hybrid
2018 Director of Mobility Forces Course
1991 – 1992, Student Pilot Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, Sheppard AFB, Texas
1992 – 1993, B2A Human Factors Engineer, 422nd Test & Evaluation Squadron, Edwards AFB, Calif.
1993 – 1995, B2A Lead Flight Test Engineer, 422nd Test & Evaluation Squadron, Edwards AFB, Calif.
1995 – 1996, Student, F-16 RTU, 63rd Fighter Squadron, Luke AFB, Ariz.
1996 – 1996, Asst. Chief, Standardization and Evaluation, 13th Fighter Squadron, Misawa AB, Japan
1997 – 1998, Chief of Plans and Mobility, 13th Fighter Squadron, Misawa AB, Japan
1998 – 1999, Flight Commander, 35th Fighter Squadron, Kunsan AB, Korea
1999 – 1999, Student, USAF Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev.
1999 – 2000, Chief Weapons and Tactics, 35th Fighter Squadron, Kunsan AB, Korea
2000 – 2002, Chief Weapons, Tactics & Intelligence, 22nd Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem AB, Germany
2002 – 2003, Chief Wing Weapons and Tactics, 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem AB, Germany
2003 – 2004, Chief Wing Inspections, 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem AB, Germany
2004 – 2006, Chief Wing Weapons and Tactics, 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn.
2007 – 2008, Fighter Enhancement Program Manager & Weapons Officer, 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn.
2008 – 2011, Director of Operations, 179th Fighter Squadron, 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn.
2011 – 2014, Commander, 148th Operational Support Squadron/Advanced Program Manager, Duluth, Minn.
2014 – 2015, Director of Operations-Air/A3, MNANG, Joint Forces Headquarters, St. Paul, Minn.
2015 – 2016, Air Operations Officer, 133rd Operations Group, St. Paul, Minn.
2016 – 2018, Commander, 133rd Operations Group, St. Paul, Minn.
2018 – Present, Vice Commander, 133rd Airlift Wing, St. Paul, Minn.
Rating: Command Pilot
Flight Hours: More than 3,800 hours
Aircraft Flown: C-130H3, F-16C+/D/CJ/CM, T-38
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with Valor and nine oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Achievement Medal
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND ASSOCIATIONS
National Guard Association of the United States, Life Member
Air Force Association, Life Member
Society of Wild Weasels, Life Member
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant May 29, 1991
First Lieutenant May 29, 1993
Captain May 29, 1995
Major April 1, 2002
Lieutenant Colonel Nov. 27, 2007
Colonel March 21, 2014
(Current as of February 2019)