Brigadier General Akshai M. Gandhi is dual-hatted as the Chief of Staff--Air, South Carolina National Guard, McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina and as the Air National Guard (ANG) Assistant to Commander, Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region – 1st Air Force (CONR-1AF). As the Chief of Staff--Air, he serves as the commander of the South Carolina Air National Guard and is responsible for the mission readiness, operations, and coordination of more than 1,400 Airmen and a $103 million operating budget in supporting both the State and Federal mission. As an ANG Assistant to the Commander – CONR-1AF, he also serves as the Deputy Combined Forces Air Component Commander and serves as the United States Air Force Title 10 Responsible Officer in the absence of the commander.
General Gandhi received his commission as a distinguished graduate of the United States Air Force Academy in 1990. He is a command pilot and highly experienced F-16 instructor pilot, flight examiner, forward air controller, and mission commander with more than 4,400 flying hours in the F-16. He has flown 600 combat hours in Operations DELIBERATE FORGE, ALLIED FORCE, NORTHERN WATCH, SOUTHERN WATCH, IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM. General Gandhi has served in various command and supervisory capacities at the squadron, group and wing levels within the 169th Fighter Wing. He has served on the Air Staff in the Air National Guard Plans and Programs Directorate and as adjunct faculty for the Reserve Component National Security Course, College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University. Prior to his current position, the general was the commander of the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, where he was responsible of organizing, training and equipping the largest operational F-16 wing in the Air National Guard while maintaining a 2,400-acre federal military installation. McEntire JNGB is the host to five South Carolina Army National Guard tenant units and more than 2,500 soldiers, including South Carolina’s largest Army National Guard flying operation. He was also responsible for the care, morale, and welfare of 1,500 Airmen and civilian personnel, including almost 100 active-duty Airmen assigned in an ‘active association’ construct.
1990 Bachelor of Science, Astronautical Engineering, United States Air Force Academy, Colo.
1997 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
1998 Joint Firepower Control Course, Nellis AFB, Nev.
2003 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2007 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2012 Reserve Component National Security Course, National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.
2018 Master of Military Operational Art and Science with Highest Academic Distinction, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2020 Systems Thinking Seminar, Arlington, Va.
2020 Leading Strategically, Center for Creative Leadership, Colorado Springs, Colo.
2021 Joint Task Force Commander’s Training Course, Peterson AFB, Colo.
2021 Joint and Combined Warfighting School, Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va.
1. September 1990–October 1991, Student, Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, Sheppard AFB, Texas
2. October 1991–June 1994, Flight Test Engineer & Executive Officer, 2872nd, 514th, 15th Test Squadrons, Hill AFB, Utah
3. June–July 1994, AT-38 Student, Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals, Sheppard AFB, Texas
4. August 1994–May 1995, F-16C Student, 61st Fighter Squadron, Luke AFB, Ariz.
5. May 1995–October 1997, Standardization/Evaluation & Scheduling Officer, Chief of Training, 36th Fighter Squadron, Osan AB, Republic of Korea
6. November 1997–November 1999, Plans Officer, Assistant Wing Weapons Officer, Flight Commander, 510th Fighter Squadron, Aviano AB, Italy
7. November 1999–September 2001, Group Standardization/Evaluation Officer, Flight Commander, 524th Fighter Squadron, Cannon AFB, N.M.
8. September 2001–June 2002, Scheduling Officer, 157th Fighter Squadron, McEntire JNGB, S.C.
9. June 2002–September 2002, Executive Officer to the Wing Commander, 376th Air Expeditionary Wing, Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan
10. September 2002–June 2007, Assistant Weapons Officer, Chief of Scheduling, 157th Fighter Squadron, McEntire JNGB, S.C.
11. July 2007–February 2010, Chief of Standardization/Evaluation, Executive Officer to the Wing Commander, 169th Operations Group, McEntire JNGB, S.C.
12. February 2010–June 2011, Program Manager, 169th Fighter Wing, McEntire JNGB, S.C.
13. June 2011–June 2012, Force Planner, National Guard Bureau, Directorate of Plans and Programs (A8), Air National Guard Readiness Center, Andrews AFB, Md.
14. June 2012–June 2013, Chief of Advanced Programs, 169th Fighter Wing, McEntire JNGB, S.C.
15. June 2013–May 2016, Commander, 157th Fighter Squadron, McEntire JNGB, S.C.
16. May 2016–June 2018, Vice Commander, 169th Fighter Wing, McEntire JNGB, S.C.
17. June 2018–September 2021, Commander, 169th Fighter Wing, McEntire JNGB, S.C.
18. September 2021–December 2021, Assistant Adjutant General – Air, Joint Force Headquarters, Columbia, S.C
19. September 2021 – present, dual-hatted, Chief of Staff – Air, Joint Force Headquarters, Columbia, S.C.; Air National Guard (ANG) Assistant to Commander, Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region – 1st Air Force (CONR-1AF), Tyndall AFB, Fla.
Rating: Command Pilot
Flight Hours: More than 4,500
Aircraft Flown: T-37, T-38, F-4E/G, RF-4C, AT-38, and F-16B/C/D (Blocks 15-52)
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor
Meritorious Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with eight oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Commendation Medal five oak leaf clusters
Air Force Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Combat Action Medal
Kosovo Campaign Medal with two bronze service stars
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two bronze service stars
Iraq Campaign Medal with two bronze service stars
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant May 30, 1990
First Lieutenant May 30, 1992
Captain May 30, 1994
Major June 01, 2001
Lieutenant Colonel June 01, 2008
Colonel May 13, 2016
Brigadier General September 12, 2021
(Current as of December 2021)