Col Michael Piontek is the Vice Wing Commander, 133rd Airlift Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard, St. Paul, Minn. He assumed his current position in January 2022 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 Airlift Wing is comprised of the 133rd Operations Group, 133rd Maintenance Group, 133rd Medical Group, and the 133rd Mission Support Group. In addition, the 133rd Airlift Wing provides support to the 210th Engineering Installation Squadron and the 208th Weather Flight. The 133rd Airlift Wing is responsible for organizing, equipping and training personnel for worldwide deployments to provide necessary combat-ready forces and C-130 aircraft to combatant commanders, Air Mobility Command and the state of Minnesota.
Col Piontek began his Air Force career in June of 1988 when he enlisted in the Minnesota Air National Guard as a civil engineer. He completed the Engineer Assistant course at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, as an honor graduate. Col Piontek graduated from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, with a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering with distinction in 1992. He was commissioned in 1996 and attended navigator training at NAS Pensacola, Fla. and Randolph Air Force Base, Tex. He completed C-130 navigator qualification at Little Rock AFB, Ark. in May 1998. During his tenure as a navigator, he served as an Assistant Chief Navigator and as a deployed squadron Director of Operations. He has deployed several times in support of Operations JOINT FORGE, CORONET OAK, IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM and has accrued over 500 combat flying hours.
Col Piontek was the Commander of the 133rd Civil Engineer Squadron, 133rd Airlift Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard, St. Paul, Minn. from June 2013 – August 2018. He concurrently served as the 133rd Airlift Wing Base Civil Engineer. In this position he was responsible for the planning, direction, and implementation of policies and procedures to secure maximum efficiency and economy of operations for the Wing facilities and infrastructure. Prior to this assignment, Col Piontek served as the Director of Plans & Policy (J5) and Director of Staff – Air for the Minnesota National Guard.
1988 United States Air Force Basic Military Training, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas
1992 Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn.
1996 Academy of Military Science, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tenn.
2004 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, by correspondence
2009 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, by correspondence
2017 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, by correspondence
2019 Joint Task Force Commander Training Course, Peterson AFB, Colo.
1. June 1988 – March 1996, Engineer Assistant, 133rd Civil Engineer Squadron, Minnesota Air National Guard, St. Paul, Minn.
2. March 1996 – May 1998, Student, Undergraduate Navigator Training, Pensacola NAS, FL and Randolph AFB, Texas
3. May 1998 – August 2013, Mission Navigator, 109th Airlift Squadron, St. Paul, Minn.
4. October 1998 – July 2013, Deputy Base Civil Engineer, 133rd Airlift Wing, St. Paul, Minn.
5. June 2013 – August 2018, Commander, 133rd Civil Engineer Squadron, St. Paul, Minn.
6. July 2013 – January 2018, Base Civil Engineer, 133rd Airlift Wing, St. Paul, Minn.
7. January 2018 – August 2018, Air Planner A5, Minnesota National Guard Joint Force Headquarters, St. Paul, Minn.
8. August 2018 – November 2021, Director J5, Minnesota National Guard Joint Force Headquarters, St. Paul, Minn.
9. February 2020 – December 2021, Director of Staff – Air, Minnesota National Guard Joint Force Headquarters, St. Paul, Minn.
10. January 2022 – Present, Vice Wing Commander, 133rd Airlift Wing, St. Paul, Minn.
Rating: Master Navigator
Flight Hours: more than 2,900, more than 500 combat hours
Aircraft flown: T-34C, T-43, C-130E, C-130H3
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Achievement Medal
Meritorious Unit Award
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor with four oak leaf clusters
Combat Readiness Medal with six oak leaf clusters
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border with four oak leaf clusters
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND AFFILIATIONS
Air National Guard Civil Engineer Association
Association of Minnesota Emergency Managers
Veterans of Foreign Wars
National Guard Association of Minnesota
National Guard Association of the United States
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant March 21, 1996
First Lieutenant March 21, 1998
Captain March 22, 2000
Major January 12, 2006
Lieutenant Colonel January 12, 2013
Colonel March 25, 2021
(Current as of June 2022)