Col Eric D. Steele is the Commander, 319th Operations Group, 319th Reconnaissance Wing, Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. He is responsible for the operations, maintenance, and training of the Air Force’s worldwide RQ-4B Global Hawk and E-11A aircraft and personnel. The Group consists of five operational squadrons and one maintenance squadron to train, maintain, and employ the RQ-4B (Block 40) Radar Technology Insertion Program (RTIP) and E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communication Node (BACN) aircraft in support of President of the United States, Secretary of Defense, and global Combatant Commander national security requirements.

Col Steele received his commission through the Air Force ROTC program at Fresno State in 2001. He has multiple operational tours in both the E-3 Sentry (AWACS) and RQ-4 Global Hawk, along with several deployments in support of United States geographic combatant commands and named operations. Col Steele has served twice on the Headquarters United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa staff, most recently as Chief of the Command Exercise Division (A37) in the A3/10 Directorate. He previously commanded at the squadron level with NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance Force and is a senior pilot with more than 1,900 flight hours.

2000 Bachelor of Art, Political Science, California State University, Fresno
2008 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
2009 Master of Art, Organizational Leadership, Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington
2010 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
2018 Joint and Combined Warfighting School, Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia
2020 Master of Art, Strategic Studies, Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama


1. January 2001-July 2001, Assistant Recruiting Officer, AFROTC Detachment 35, California State University, Fresno

2. July 2001-August 2002, Student Pilot, 47th Flying Training Wing, Laughlin AFB, Texas

3. September 2002-November 2006, Chief of Safety, 960th Airborne Air Control Squadron, Tinker AFB, Oklahoma

4. November 2006-March 2009, Flight Commander, 12th Reconnaissance Squadron, Beale AFB, California

5. April 2009-August 2011, Chief of RQ-4 Stan Eval, 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, Beale AFB, California

6. August 2011-March 2013, Deputy Chief, ISR Operations Division, HQ USAFE-AFAFRICA A3/10, Ramstein AB, Germany

7. April 2013-November 2014, Deputy Chief of Staff, HQ USAFE-AFAFRICA, Ramstein AB, Germany

8. November 2014-October 2016, Inspector General, 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Beale AFB, California

9. November 2016-June 2019, Commander, Flying Squadron and U.S. Senior National Representative, NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Force (NAGSF), Sigonella AB, Italy

10. July 2019-July 2020, Student, Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama

11. July 2020-July 2022, Deputy Chief, Future Plans, Strategy, Concepts and Capabilities Division, HQ USAFEAFAFRICA A5/8/9, Ramstein AB, Germany

12. August 2022-May 2023, Chief, Command Exercise Division, HQ USAFE-AFAFRICA A3/10, Ramstein AB, Germany

13. June 2023-Present, Commander, 319th Operations Group, Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota

1. November 2016–June 2019, Commander, Flying Squadron and United States Senior National Representative (SNR), NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Force, Sigonella AB, Italy as a lieutenant colonel

Rating: senior pilot
Hours: more than 1,900
Aircraft Flown: RQ-4A/B, E-3B/C, T-1, and T-37

Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster

Second Lieutenant January 16, 2001
First Lieutenant January 26, 2003
Captain January 26, 2005
Major November 1, 2010
Lieutenant Colonel March 1, 2016
Colonel July 1, 2022

(Current as of June 2023)