MILITARY & VETERANS AFFAIRS
(9 February, 2009)
Rumson Resident To Command
177th Fighter Wing
Photo caption: Rumson resident and incoming commander of the 177th Fighter Wing Col. Robert C. Bolton (right), accepts the 177th's Colors from Brig. Gen. Maria Falca-Dodson (left), Commander, New Jersey Air National Guard, while 177th Command Chief Master Sgt. Michael R. Francis (center) observes during the Change of Command Ceremony held at the Wing on Feb. 8. Prior to assuming command of the 177th, Col. Bolton served as the Wing's Operations Group Commander. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, 177FW/PA.
Details: Colonel Bolton was born in Norwood, Massachusetts, on December 30, 1961. He graduated from Mansfield High School, Mansfield, Massachusetts, in 1979. He received a four-year Reserve Officer Training Corps Engineering scholarship from the U.S. Air Force and attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass., where he received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1983.
Colonel Bolton was commissioned in May 1983 and began Undergraduate Pilot Training in July 1984 at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. He completed Undergraduate Pilot Training in June 1984 as a distinguished graduate and was awarded an F-15 in the 27th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Langley AFB, Va. In March 1988 the Colonel was assigned as a Replacement Training Unit Instructor Pilot with the 22nd Tactical Support Training Squadron flying OV-10's at Patrick AFB, Fla. During 1988, Colonel Bolton also attended Squadron Officer School in residence. The unit was relocated to Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz, in March 1989 where he remained until June 1990.
Colonel Bolton left active duty to become a Technician Instructor Pilot with the 177th Fighter Wing. As a technician, Colonel Bolton has been the Chief of Training, Weapons, and Scheduling. He was the Operations Officer responsible for the F-16 Air Defense Fighter and the C-model conversions and also the Air-to-Ground upgrade program. He has been on all the unit's major deployments and was the Detachment Commander on two of the unit's counter-drug deployments. In 1998, the Colonel completed Air Command and Staff College.
In March 1999 he was hired by American Airlines and became a traditional Guardsman. As a traditional Guardsman, he served as the Operations Support Flight Commander. When the events of 9-11 unfolded, Colonel Bolton stepped in as the unit's Alert Operations and Scheduling officer and flew on many of the Homeland Defense missions. From September 2003 through January 2006, Colonel Bolton served as the unit's Alert Detachment Commander. In February 2006, he deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom as the unit's Assistant Operations Officer. That same year, the Colonel graduated from Air War College. In August of 2007, he was appointed as the Operations Group Commander.
Colonel Bolton is a Command Pilot with more than 5,400 flight hours, 1,600 of them as an instructor. He has flown the T-37, T-38, OV-10, F-15A/B/C/D, F-16A/B/C/D, MD-80 and the Boeing 777, 767 and the 757.
His major awards include the Laughlin Air Force Base Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 84-06 Distinguished Graduate, 1989 Tactical Air Command Instructor Pilot of the Year and the 1992 177th Fighter Wing Company Grade Officer of the Year. Bolton's decorations include: Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal with four devices, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with one device, Combat Readiness Medal with three devices, National Defense Service Medal with one device, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with gold border, Air Force Longevity Service Award with three devices, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon with one device Air Force Training Ribbon with one device, New Jersey Ribbon of Honor, New Jersey Merit Award Ribbon with fourteen devices, New Jersey Desert Storm Support Ribbon and the New Jersey Unit Strength Award Ribbon.