Col. James J. Buessing, Jr. is the Deputy Commander of the 388th Fighter Wing, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The wing's mission is to "Deliver F-35 dominance...anytime, anywhere." The wing maintains combat readiness to deploy, employ, and sustain F-35s worldwide, in order to fly, fight and win any conflict. Col. Buessing is responsible for the readiness, training, morale, and welfare of more than 2,000 personnel who maintain and operate F-35A aircraft across ten squadrons. Additionally, he provides operational oversight and direction for nearly 450 reserve maintainers and operators in the 419th Fighter Wing. He is also responsible for the Utah Test and Training Range, a 3.2-million-acre jewel in Utah’s west desert that provides operational test and evaluation of weapons requiring a large safety footprint.

Col. Buessing entered the Air Force in 2000 as a Distinguished Graduate of Officer Training School. He earned his wings in the Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Program at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Additionally, he has served as a squadron commander and a pilot in a variety of combat deployments and operational tours. Prior to his position, Col. Buessing was the Commander, Headquarters, Utah Test and Training Range, Hill AFB, Utah.

2000 Bachelor of Science, Marketing and International Business, Kansas State University, Manhattan
2005 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2008 Master of Business Administration, American Military University, St. Charles Town, W.Va.
2009 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala. by correspondence
2012 Master of Military Operational Art and Science, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2015 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala. by correspondence
2020 Master of Strategic Studies, Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.


1. December 2000 – December 2001, Student, Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Vance Air Force Base, Okla.
2. April 2002 – December 2002, F-16 Student Pilot, 63rd Fighter Squadron, Luke AFB, Ariz.
3. December 2002 – October 2005, F-16 Pilot and Electronic Combat Pilot, 34th Fighter Squadron, Hill AFB, Utah
4. October 2005 – October 2006, F-16 Instructor Pilot and Assistant Weapons Officer, 35th Fighter Squadron, Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea
5. October 2006 – January 2010, Flight Commander and Brigade Air Liaison Officer, Fort Riley Army Installation, Kan.
6. January 2010 – June 2012, F-16 Evaluator Pilot, Assistant Director of Operations, and Aide de Camp, 79th Fighter Squadron, Shaw AFB, S.C.
7. June 2012 – June 2013, Student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
8. June 2013 – June 2015, Fighter Branch Chief and Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals Instructor Pilot, Headquarters, Air Education and Training Command, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas
9. June 2015 – June 2019, Director of Operations, Inspector General, and Commander, 79th/77th Fighter Squadron, Shaw AFB, S.C.
10. June 2019 – June 2020, Student, Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
11. June 2020 - March 2021, Officer in Charge, 611th Air Operations Center Commander’s Action Group, Joint Base Elmendorf- Richardson, Alaska
12. May 2021 – June 2023, Commander, Headquarters, Utah Test and Training Range, Hill AFB, Utah
13. June 2023-present, Deputy Commander, 388th Fighter Wing, Hill AFB, Utah

Rating:  command pilot
Flight hours: more than 2,800 including 617 combat hours
Aircraft flown: T-37, AT/T-38C, F-16, F-35A

Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Army Commendation Medal

2008 93rd Air-Ground Operations Wing Company Grade Officer of the Year
2012 20th Fighter Wing Field Grade Officer of the Year

Second Lieutenant September 29, 2000
First Lieutenant September 29, 2002
Captain September 29, 2004
Major August 1, 2010
Lieutenant Colonel December 1, 2015
Colonel August 1, 2021

(Current as of August 2023)