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Colonel Joseph R. Olszewski is the Vice Wing Commander, 171st Air Refueling Wing, Pittsburgh International Airport, Coraopolis, Pennsylvania.  The 171st is the only super tanker wing in the Air National Guard. As vice commander, he assists the wing commander in the management of all phases of the organization’s mission.


Colonel Olszewski entered the Pennsylvania Air National Guard in September of 1992 where he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant though the Academy of Military Science at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee. Colonel Olszewski then attended Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance AFB, Oklahoma where he received his initial aeronautical rating as a Pilot.  He returned to the 171st Air Refueling Wing as a KC-135E Co-pilot. Colonel Olszewski has accumulated more than 5,000 military flight hours and has held ratings to include; Aircraft Commander, Instructor Pilot, Evaluator Pilot, and Command Pilot.  He is also an experienced commercial pilot having flown the B-727, B-757, 767 and the DC-9. In August of 1989 upon release from active duty, he transferred to the 171st Air Refueling Wing and cross-trained as a Refueling Aircraft Maintenance Craftsman with the 171st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.  He has deployed numerous times in support of Operation(s) Desert Shield/Storm, Iraqi/Enduring Freedom, and various tasked unit missions.


In 2013, Colonel Olszewski was selected as the Operations Officer for the 146th Air Refueling Squadron.  He was selected as Vice Wing Commander of the 171st Air Refueling Wing on 16 March 2016. Colonel Olszewski has deployed numerous times as an aircrew member, staff officer, and commander supporting global operations to include homeland defense, contingency support, combat, and humanitarian taskings.  His operational experience includes; Operation(s) DESERT SHIELD/STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM, ENDURING FREEDOM, NOBLE EAGLE, and UNIFIED PROTECTOR.

1990 Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science,  Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Az.
1998 Masters of Arts, Geography & Regional Planning, California University of Pennsylvania, California, Pa.

2000 Squadron Officer School
2006 Air Command and Staff College
2009 Air War College



1. July 1992 - September 1992, Academy Of Military Science, McGhee Tyson ANG, Tenn.

2. December 1992 - December 1993, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Vance AFB, Okla.

3. January 1994 - May 1994, KC-135 Combat Crew Training School, Castle AFB, Calif.
4. June 1994 - August 1998, Pilot/Aircraft Commander, 171st Air Refueling Wing, Coraopolis, Pa.

5. September 1998 - February 2007 Instructor Pilot, 171st Air Refueling Wing, Coraopolis, Pa

6. March 2007 - February 2014, Chief of Current Operations, 171st Operations Group, Coraopolis, Pa.

7. February 2014 - March 20116, Operations Officer, 146th Air Refueling Squadron, Coraopolis, Pa.

8. March 2016 - Present, Vice Wing Commander, 171st Air Refueling Wing, Coraopolis, Pa.



Rating: Instructor Pilot
Flight hours: 5,000
Aircraft flown: T-37B, T-38, KC-135A, KC-135E, KC-135R, and KC-135D

Meritorious Service Medal

Air Medal
Air Force Aerial Achievement Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal

Meritorious Unit Award with four oak leaf clusters

Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with one oak leaf cluster

Combat Readiness Medal with nine oak leaf clusters

National Defense Service Medal with one bronze star

Kosovo Campaign Medal with one bronze star

Iraq Campaign Medal with one bronze star

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal with three bronze star

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

Armed Forces Service Medal with one bronze star

Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters

Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with gold border with six oak leaf clusters

Air Force Longevity Service Award with five oak leaf clusters

Armed Forces Reserve Medal with six ‘M’ devices

Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon

Air Force Training Ribbon

NATO Medal



Pennsylvania Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster

Pennsylvania Governors Unit Citation with two oak leaf clusters

Pennsylvania 20 Year Service Medal

Pennsylvania Major General Thomas R. White, Jr. Medal

Pennsylvania General Thomas J. Stewart Medal with one oak leaf cluster



Second Lieutenant July. 30, 1992

First Lieutenant Sep. 6, 1994

Captain Sep. 6, 1996

Major Sep. 29, 2000

Lieutenant Colonel Sep. 29, 2007

Colonel Dec. 7, 2016

(Current as of March 2017)