Colonel Michael D. Stapleton  is the Vice Commander, 927th Air Refueling Wing, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. He is responsible for the wartime readiness of Operations, Maintenance and Support Groups including two Medical units and directs staff in strategic planning/execution of policies and procedures ensuring resources are effectively employed.

Colonel Stapleton received his commission from the United States Air Force Academy in May 1997. He served as a Space and Missile Operations Officer for three years before attending pilot training in 2000. He served in various operational Space and Mobility assignments before transitioning to the Air Force Reserves in 2006. He has commanded at both the Squadron and Group level. Colonel Stapleton’s previous assignment was as IMA to the Chief, Plans and Strategy Division, Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.  In this position, he assisted the Division Chief in the integration of all Mobility Air Forces in Contingency Planning for all nine Combatant Commands and led Strategy, Capability Development and Doctrine, Policy and International Affairs for Air Mobility Command.

Colonel Stapleton is a Command Pilot with over 3,500 flying hours in the KC-135R. In his civilian capacity, Colonel Stapleton is a first officer with a major airline.


1997 Bachelor of Science in Space Operations, US Air Force Academy, Colo.

2004 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

2009 Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology, Northcentral University, Prescott, Ariz.

2013 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

2013 Master of Military Operational Art and Science, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

2014 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence

2015 Reserve Component National Security Course, National Defense University, Ft. McNair, Washington, D.C.


1. May 1997—February 1998, Special Assistant to the Commander, FE Warren AFB, Wyo.

2. February 1998—April 1998, Student, Undergraduate Space and Missile Training, Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

3. April 1998—May 2000, GPS Payload Systems Operator, Executive Officer and Chief, GPS Y2K

Operations Assurance, 2d Space Operations Squadron, Schriever AFB, Colo.

4. May 2000—June 2001, Student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Columbus AFB, Miss.

5. June 2001—October 2001, Student, KC-135R Copilot Initial Qualification, Altus AFB, Okla.

6. October 2001—August 2006, KC-135R Instructor Pilot, Chief Squadron Executive Officer, Flight Commander, and Chief, Wing Scheduling, 22nd Air Refueling Wing, McConnell AFB, Kan.

7. Aug 2006—July 2012, KC-135R Instructor Pilot, Chief of Squadron Safety, Assistant Flight Commander, 18th ARS, McConnell AFB, Kan.

8. July 2012–-June 2013, Student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

9. June 2013—Oct 2014, KC-135R Instructor Pilot, Flight Commander, 18th Air Refueling Squadron, McConnell AFB, Kan.

10. October 2014—April 2018, Commander, 927th Operations Support Squadron, MacDill AFB, Fla.

(July 2017 – Oct 2017, Commander, 927th Operations Group)

11. April 2018 – Dec 2018, Assistant Director, Plans and Strategy, 18th Air Force, Scott AFB, Ill.

12. December 2018 – November 2020, IMA to Chief, Plans and Strategy Division, Air Mobility Command, Scott AFB, Ill.

13. November 2020 – Feb 2022, Vice Commander, 507th Air Refueling Wing, Tinker AFB, Okla.

14. February 2022 -- Present, Vice Commander, 927th Air Refueling Wing, MacDill AFB, Fla. 



Rating: Command Pilot

Flight hours: More than 3,500

Aircraft Flown: T-37, T-1, KC-135R



Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters

Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters

Aerial Achievement medal with one oak leaf cluster

Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters



Second Lieutenant May 28, 1997

First Lieutenant May 28, 1999

Captain May 28, 2001

Major Sept 12, 2006

Lieutenant Colonel Oct 1, 2012

Colonel June 21, 2018


(Current as of November 2020)