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Guest Speakers

Colonel Joseph Kunkel

Colonel Joseph Kunkel, USAF

Colonel Joseph Kunkel is the Wing Commander, 366th Fighter Wing, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. He serves a diverse operational fighter wing equipped with F-15E and F-15SG fighter aircraft. The wing is comprised of 4,200 military and civilian members that support 18 squadrons, including a Republic of Singapore squadron. It hosts the 726th Air Control Squadron – one of only three active-duty Air Force control reporting centers in the U.S. – and the Idaho Air National Guard 266th Range Squadron. The wing operates, maintains and develops the Mountain Home Range Complex comprised of 9,016 square miles of associated airspace and 122,000 acres of land space used for two air-to-ground training ranges, five no-drop target complexes and 30 multi-size electronic combat sites. The command also includes the 390th Electronic Combat Squadron, which flies U.S. Navy EA-18G Growlers at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington.

Colonel Kunkel was commissioned at the United States Air Force Academy in June of 1994. Following Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance AFB, OK, he was assigned to the F-15E Strike Eagle. He transitioned to the F-22 Raptor as part of Pacific Air Forces’ F-22 initial cadre where he served as the Director of Operations for the 525th Fighter Squadron and then the Commander of the 90th Fighter Squadron. His combat experience includes numerous deployments in support of combat operations in the Persian Gulf and Baltic Regions. Before assuming his current position, he was the Vice Commander, 325th Fighter Wing, Air Combat Command, Tyndall AFB, Fla. Colonel Kunkel is a command pilot with over 2,200 flying hours.

Education
1994: Bachelor of Science, Aeronautical Engineering, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO
2002: Master of Arts, Organizational Management, The George Washington University, Washington D.C.
2013: Master of Arts, Strategic Studies, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL
2014: National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, Cohort XI, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, MA

Career Assignments
Feb. 1995 - Feb. 1996: Student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Vance AFB, OK
Feb. 1996 - Dec. 1996: Student, F-15E Replacement Training Unit, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, NC
Dec. 1996 - Dec. 1999: Flight Lead, 494th Fighter Squadron, RAF Lakenheath, U.K.
Jan. 2000 - June 2001: Instructor Pilot, 89th Flying Training Squadron, Sheppard AFB, TX
June 2001 - June 2002: Student, Air Force Intern Program, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
June 2002 - Nov. 2004: Instructor Pilot, 90th Fighter Squadron, Elmendorf AFB, AK
Nov. 2004 - July 2007: Executive Officer to the Air Force A3/5, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
Aug. 2007 - June 2010: Director of Operations, 525th Fighter Squadron, Elmendorf AFB, AK
June 2010 - May 2012: Commander, 90th Fighter Squadron, Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, AK
June 2012 - June 2013: Student, AirWar College, Maxwell AFB, AL
July 2013 - June 2015: Director of Operations Alaskan Command, Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, AK
June 2015 - Sept. 2017: Vice Commander, 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall AFB, FL
Sept. 2017 - Present: Commander, 366th FighterWing, Mountain Home AFB, ID

Major Awards and Decorations
  • Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster Legion of Merit
  • Distinguished Flying Cross with V device Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters Air Medal with oak leaf cluster
  • Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster Joint Service Achievement Medal
  • Air Force Achievement Medal

Anthony Konecni

Anthony Konecni

Anthony grew up in the Boise area graduating from Capital High School in 2011. Upon graduation he reported to the United States Merchant Marine Academy to begin indoctrination with the class of 2015. One of the most unique and challenging parts of USMA is Sea Year. As a 3rd class midshipmen Anthony was assigned his first ship and quickly found himself over 20 years younger than the rest of the crew and thrown right into the working schedule with the rest of the ship. After 124 days of sailing all over the Pacific, working at least 8 hour days, and completing Sea Projects he returned to school waiting for his next chance to go to sea. He soon had the chance to finish his remaining 200 days of required sea time to graduate aboard an Ammo ship, a roll on-roll off car transport, and finally a 4,000 person cruise ship. During each of these periods of time Anthony learned first hand what it took to work with a wide range of individuals, to do more with less, and to get the job done. Returning back to USMMA for his senior year he put his shipboard knowledge to work completing the required courses, CAPSTONE, and finally the daunting Coast Guard License test. He also had the chance to exercise some of his leadership learned over the past three years as the Regimental Athletic Director, and the President of the Endurance Club. After four years of hardwork and traveling halfway around the world, Anthony Graduated in June of 2015 with a Bachelors of Science in Systems Engineering, an Unlimited Third Assistant Engineer License, and a Commission into the United States Coast Guard.

A month after graduation Anthony reported to the Coast Guard Academy to complete the Direct Commission Officer program, a 6 week crash course on the Coast Guard’s missions and processes. After this course Anthony reported to his first unit, Surface Forces Logistics Center Oakland, and quickly found himself behind a desk. While this first year in the Coast Guard didn’t involve saving sinking ships or jumping out of helicopters it gave Anthony a first hand opportunity to exercise judgment and subject matter knowledge. Acting as a project manager for the Coast Guard’s buoy tenders he had the chance to fill a position normally reserved for a LT or senior LTJG as a fresh Ensign. This first year of the Coast Guard was a hectic one with a steep learning curve due to Anthony’s strong knowledge of shipboard engineering he able to successfully manage $12.6 million and run 15 dry docks and dockside maintenance periods. As the project manger he found himself having to step up and lead these projects which often resulted in the directing of the shipyards upper management and a gauntlet of O5’s and E8’s who manned the cutters. Within the year Anthony was extended the opportunity to trade out his desk and phone for a control booth and a radio aboard the Coast Guard Cutter BERTHOLF.

Reporting aboard the 10-year-old WMSL class cutter was as hectic as one can imagine with it getting underway just two days after arriving aboard. This cutter was heading to Seattle to start a year long dry dock of it’s own. Over the course of a year this dry dock would remove the cutter’s hull and rebuild it from the outside to enhance it’s structural integrity. While aboard the BERTHOLF, Anthony filled the role of Damage Control Assistant, responsible for the combating of all fire, flooding, and battle damage which a ship can expect to take in any given mission. Anthony quickly found this role didn’t just include the hands on combating of emergencies but many hours of people management, the continual list of maintenance, and most importantly the educating of all crew members in how to properly save the ship should disaster strike. While the BERTHOLF was in the yard undergoing her extensive dry dock the crew was stationed aboard her sister ship and sent to stand watch on the Bering Sea in the dead of winter. This first of it’s kind trip for a WMSL cutter was not kind to the WAESCHE and lead to many bursting pipes and flooding situations giving Anthony plenty of time to master the art of acting cool under pressure. Once the crew made it safety home they were quickly sent to Seattle to finish up the work on the BERTHOLF and head down south for a counter narcotics patrol. Floating off the Galapagos for the majority of this next 4 months the BERTHOLF was able to interdict over 3 tons of cocaine valued at over $107 million. As the Damage Control Assistant Anthony was vital to these boardings and drug bust as the lead engineer identifying hidden compartments and extracting the contraband, upon completion of extraction Anthony was also in charge of the controlled sinking of all vessels. Two of these boardings required that these fishing vessels be manned and sailed with CG personnel to desired locations. Both times Anthony’s engineering knowledge and leadership resulted in him leading these overnight missions.

Upon the completion of this patrol Anthony completed his 3-year commitment to the active duty Coast Guard and has transitioned back into the Merchant Marine. He still maintains his reserve commitment and is currently preparing to sail aboard commercial vessels once again.