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Please join the Air Force Special Operations family in congratulating this year’s special operations legends:

2021 Air Commando Hall of Fame Inductees

Selected on September 25th, 2021

Timothy Hale, Col, USAF Retired

Colonel Timothy L. Hale distinguished himself as an Air Commando, a veteran’s advocate, civilian instructor, and minister over 4 decades of service to God, his nation, and his fellow Americans. Colonel Hale excelled as an MC-130E/H crew commander and instructor/evaluator and an AC/MC-130J instructor. From his first combat mission as an MC-130E pilot in the lead aircraft over Point Salinas, Grenada, Colonel Hale led from the front with professionalism, courage, a keen sense of humor, and respect. He excelled as a staff officer enhancing SOF capabilities at HQs Military Airlift Command and supported the Commander’s strategic engagement at US Special Operations Command. The onset of the Global War on Terrorism resulted in multiple deployments to the US Central Command’s area of responsibility, where he served on a Joint Special Operations Task Force destroying Al Qaeda safe havens. He commanded an Expeditionary Group and Wing, flying missions and riding resupply convoys during Operation Iraq Freedom. As 16th SOW Vice Commander he forged unity between Hurlburt Field and local communities while executing multi-million-dollar recovery operations following Hurricane Ivan. Upon retirement, he continued to serve Air Commandos as an aircrew accession instructor with the 58 Special Operations Wing. Handpicked by New Mexico’s Governor, he served 4 years as the state’s Department of Veteran’s Services Secretary then returned to instructing SOF aircrews. He was ordained as a minister and dedicated his service to America’s veterans. Following 40-years of direct service to SOF airmen, he continues ministering to military personnel, veterans, and those recovering from natural disasters. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Colonel Hale reflect great credit upon himself, Air Force Special Operations Command, and Air Commandos of every generation.

SMSgt James B. Lackey (posthumous)

Senior Master Sergeant James Bertrand “JB” Lackey distinguished himself through selfless service and sustained superior performance during a career that culminated as the 8th Special Operations Squadron Superintendent. His outstanding professionalism and personal leadership were vital to building the readiness of the 8th SOS, Air Force Special Operations Command’s first operational CV-22B squadron, and prosecuting the squadron’s mission during the global war on terrorism. From 1992-2006, SMSgt Lackey served with distinction as an Instructor and Flight Examiner for the MH-53 Pave Low Models J/M. JB’s focused leadership, courage, and superior airmanship were evident during Operations PROVIDE PROMISE, UPHOLD DEMOCRACY, BEVEL EDGE, ALLIED FORCE, ENDURING FREEDOM, and IRAQI FREEDOM. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism as well as the Meritorious Service Medal (1 Oak Leaf Cluster) and Air Medal (4 Oak Leaf Clusters). With the MH-53 Pave Low drawn down apparent, in 2007 he was selected as one of five enlisted airmen to become CV-22 Initial Operational Cadre team members. He excelled as a CV-22 flight engineer during combat deployments supporting Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM. JB selflessly gave his last full measure on 9 April 2010 during a combat mission in Afghanistan. His selfless service, heroism, and sacrifice are revered to this day. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of SMSgt Lackey reflect great credit upon himself, Air Force Special Operations Command, and Air Commandos of every generation.

William Markham, CMSgt USAF Retired

For his legacy of selfless service and absolute commitment to mission accomplishment, Chief Master Sergeant William C. “Charlie Mike” Markham is hereby inducted into the Air Commando Hall of Fame. During his storied 30-year career, he directly impacted multiple national security taskings, and served as the senior enlisted leader at the squadron, group, wing and center level within Air Force Special Operations Command. He served as the senior enlisted leader of a Joint Special Operations Air Detachment and Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component in combat. As a young NCO and combat controller, he was the first US Airman on the ground in Afghanistan a mere 5 weeks after 11 September 2001. Then- Sergeant Markham controlled close air support that decimated the ranks of the Taliban, and ultimately liberated Bagram Air Base and Kabul International Airport, and returned the US Embassy to American control. For gallantry in action he received the Silver Star. As an AFSOC Command Chief, he led the growth and re-missioning of the 352 Special Operations Group integrating the MC-130J and CV-22B weapons systems. Chief Markham’s resolute commitment to the well-being of veterans and families of the fallen and wounded continues to be the standard that others emulate. From fund-raising events to executive leadership of established and start-up charities, Chief Markham personally enabled hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship funding and pro-bono legal support to America’s warriors and families. With charismatic leadership and passion for continuous improvement, Chief Markham has prepared generations of Air Commandos for the challenges that lie ahead. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Chief Markham reflect great credit upon himself, Air Force Special Operations Command, and Air Commandos of every generation.

William Schroeder Lt Col (posthumous)

Lieutenant Colonel William “Bill” A. Schroeder distinguished himself as an Air Commando through selfless leadership and superior performance throughout his special operations career. As an officer-in-charge and then commander of the Special Operations Weather detachment at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, his steadfast leadership of low-density, high-demand Special Operations Weather Team (SOWT) operators was critical in ensuring premier weather support to the 3rd and 7th Special Forces Groups as they deployed during Operations ENDURING and IRAQI FREEDOM. At Special Operations Command – Europe, Colonel Schroeder was responsible for standing-up specialized weather support across Africa, uniquely enabling the stand-up of Special Operations Command – Africa. As commander of the 10th Combat Weather Squadron, Colonel Schroeder oversaw the continuous deployment of SOWT operators across the globe. Bill also managed the integration of SOWT forces and equipment into the Special Tactics Squadrons. He later led the herculean effort to modernize the Battlefield Airman training program and played a pivotal role in establishing the Special Warfare Training Wing, paving the way for a new era in the selection and training of Air Force special operations ground combat forces. In a final act of devotion and bravery, Colonel Schroeder laid down his life after confronting an armed assailant determined to inflict harm to the men and women under his charge. He was posthumously awarded the Airman’s Medal and honored by the Air Force Portraits in Courage for his valor and selfless sacrifice. Lieutenant Colonel Schroeder’s extraordinary dedication and commitment to the special operations mission and bravery in the face of certain peril reflect great credit upon himself, Air Force Special Operations, and Air Commandos of every generation.

Daniel Turney, Maj, USAF Retired

Major Daniel E. “Dan” Turney, USAF, Retired, has served our nation with honor for over 34 years, as an enlisted and commissioned airmen and civil servant. He distinguished himself during 22 years with the Air Force Special Operations Command in squadron, wing, and headquarters positions. He epitomizes the definition of the ‘Send Me’ Air Commando. Major Turney was an MH-60 initial cadre pilot in the 55th SOS, the first H-60 unit in the USAF. He played a critical role for the squadron by developing aircrew qualification courseware and tactics, techniques, and procedures. He was the first MH-60G special mission planner for the 1st Special Operations Wing and Joint Special Operations Command. He deployed as an MH-60G Combat Search and Rescue mission manager during Operations JUST CAUSE and DESERT STORM, coordinating over 40 combat missions. Dan was selected as AFSOC’s Rotary Wing Test Manager for the Operational Test and Evaluation of the CV-22, MH-53, and MH-60. As a mission manager during Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY, he coordinated logistics and air refueling for MH-60s deployed on a ship. As a 6th SOS Combat Aviation Advisor he maintained instructor status in four different helicopters. During Operation ENDURING FREEDOM he flew the first coalition support missions in the Jordanian Super Pumas, Uzbek Mi-17s, and Pakistani Pumas. After retirement, Dan served as an AFSOC operations analyst and developed the first formal Aviation Foreign Internal Defense Concept of Operations and Roadmap for the 2006 and 2009 Quadrennial Defense Reviews. His efforts resulted in growth of the 6th SOS and the unit becoming an integral part of the 492d Special Operations Wing. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Major Turney reflect great credit upon himself, Air Force Special Operations Command, and Air Commandos of every generation.

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