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Col. Matthew May


Colonel Matthew L. W. May is the Vice Commander, 492d Special Operations Wing (SOW) located at Hurlburt Field, Florida. The 492 SOW is the Air Force’s only Irregular Warfare wing employing Combat Aviation Advisors and Non-Standard Aviation worldwide in support of national and theater-level strategic objectives. The 492 SOW is additionally responsible for the training and education of Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel, innovation, development, and operational testing in support of Air Force Special Operations Command. His units are tasked with the mission qualification training and continuation training in SOF aviation platforms to include AC-130J, AC-130U, AC-130W, MC-130H, MC-130J, CV-22, C-145, C-146, MQ-9, U-28A and small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS). With an annual budget of $120 million, the 492 SOW manages and utilizes state-of-the-art simulators valued at over $400 million, develops and implements cutting-edge curriculum, and develops world-class Combat Aviation Advisors to meet the command’s operational and training requirements.

Colonel May earned his undergraduate degree from Harding University in 1993 and was commissioned in the Air Force in 1996 through Officer Training School. He holds Master’s Degrees in International Relations, National Security Studies, and National Security Strategy Resourcing. During his career he has served in a variety of positions including KC-135R navigator, AC-130H/U fire control officer, 19th Special Operations squadron commander and Special Operations-Korea Deputy Commander. Colonel May is a master navigator with over 2,800 flight hours. He has participated in a number of worldwide contingency operations and is a veteran of Operations NORTHERN WATCH, SOUTHERN WATCH, ALLIED FORCE, ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM. 


1993       Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology, Harding University, Searcy, Arkansas
2002       Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama
2004       United States Air Force Weapons School, Hurlburt Field, Florida
2007       Master of Political Science-International Relations, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
2009       Air Command and Staff College by correspondence
2009       Master of Security Studies-Defense Decision Making and Planning, Naval Post-Graduate School, Monterey, California
2013       Air War College by correspondence
2018       Master of Science-National Security Strategy Resourcing, Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, National Defense University, Washington, D.C.


1996 – 1997         Student, Undergraduate Navigator Training, Randolph Air Force Base, TX
1997 – 1998         Student, KC-135 Navigator Initial Qualification, Altus Air Force Base, OK
1998 – 2000         Navigator, Instructor, 96th Air Refueling Squadron, Fairchild Air Force Base, WA
2000 – 2001         Student, AC-130H Fire Control Officer Initial Qualification, 19th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, FL
2001 – 2006         Fire Control Officer, Instructor and Evaluator, 16th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, FL
2006 – 2007         Fire Control Officer, Formal Training Instructor/Evaluator, 19th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, FL
2007 – 2008         Assistant Operations Officer, 1st Special Operations Support Squadron, Hurlburt Field, FL
2008 – 2010         IDE Student, Naval Post-Graduate School, Monterey, CA
2010 – 2012         Deputy Branch Chief, Theater Security Cooperation, US Air Forces Africa, Ramstein, Germany
2012 – 2014         Director of Operations, 19th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, FL
2014 – 2016         Commander, 19th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, FL
2016 – 2017         Deputy Commander, 1st Special Operations Group, Hurlburt Field, FL
2017 – 2018         SDE Student, Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, Washington, D.C.
2018 – 2020         Deputy Commander, Special Operations Command, Camp Humphreys, Korea
2020 – Present     Vice Wing Commander, 492d Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, FL


Defense Superior Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters
Air Medal with seven Oak Leaf Clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters
Air Force Combat Action Medal


Second Lieutenant              1996
First Lieutenant                   1998
Captain                                2000
Major                                    2005
Lieutenant Colonel              2011
Colonel                                2017