Colonel Derek Rachel is commander, 55th Operations Group, 55th Wing, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. The 55th Operations Group executes global airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and treaty verification missions directed by the President and Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Combatant Commanders, and national intelligence agencies. The group’s 11 squadrons and two detachments operate seven separate models of aircraft. The 55th Operations Group is the largest operations group in the United States Air Force.

Colonel Rachel started his military career as a F-16 Crew Chief in the 188th Fighter Wing, Arkansas Air National Guard, Fort Smith, Arkansas. In 1999, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Arkansas and was commissioned through the ROTC program. Colonel Rachel completed undergraduate navigator training at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. He held operational flying assignments in the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, E-3A NATO Airborne Early Warning and Control System and RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft. Colonel Rachel served as an instructor and evaluator Combat Systems Operator for all three weapon systems. In his previous position, he was the Chief, Global Integration Division, United States Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. He was responsible for analyzing, prioritizing, coordinating, and advocating for future Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, and Space capabilities in support of USSTRATCOM missions by leveraging emerging technologies, experimentation, architectures and future concepts.

Additionally, Colonel Rachel served as a Presidential Advance Agent supporting President Obama, Vice President Biden and First Lady Obama. He also held various staff assignments at USSTRATCOM and on the Joint Staff, to include Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance and served as Commander, 338th Combat Training Squadron. He has multiple combat deployments supporting Operations IRAQI FREEDOM, ENDURING FREEDOM, ANACONDA and NEW DAWN.

Colonel Rachel is a Master Navigator with more than 3,000 flying hours.

1999 Bachelor of Science, University of Arkansas (with Distinction)
2005 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2007 Master of Aeronautical Science, Embry Riddle University (with Distinction)
2007 Aviation/Aerospace Management Specialization, Embry Riddle University
2007 Aviation Safety Systems Specialization, Embry Riddle University
2009 Marine Corps Command and Staff College (Correspondence)
2009 Air Command and Staff College (Correspondence)
2012 Army Command and Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas (Residence)
2015 Air War College (Correspondence)
2020 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala. (Residence)
2020 Masters of Military Science, Air University

August 1995 – December 1998, F-16 Crew Chief, 188th Fighter Wing, Fort Smith, Ark.
February 2000 – July 2000, Squadron Executive Officer, 384th Refueling Squadron, McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas
July 2000 – February 2001, Undergraduate Pilot Training, 8th Flying Training Squadron, Vance AFB, Okla.
February 2001 – November 2001, Undergraduate Navigator Training, 562d FTS, Randolph AFB, Texas
November 2001 – February 2002, Assistant Wing Executive Officer, 12th Flying Training Wing, Randolph AFB, Texas
February 2002 – September 2002, E-8 Navigator Qualification Training, 330th Combat Training Squadron, Robins AFB, Ga.
September 2002 – September 2003, E-8 Navigator, 16th Airborne Command & Control Squadron, Robins AFB, Ga.
September 2003 – September 2004, E-8 Instructor/Evaluator Navigator, 330th CTS, Robins AFB, Ga.
September 2004 – September 2005, Group Executive Officer, 116th Operations Group, Robins AFB, Ga.
September 2005 – June 2006, E-3 Navigator Qualification Training, NATO TW, NATO AB, Geilenkirchen, Germany
June 2006 – June 2007, Flight Commander, Squadron 3d, NATO AB, Geilenkirchen, Germany
June 2007– June 2009, Chief, Standardizations and Evaluations, NATO AB, Geilenkirchen, Germany
June 2009 – April 2010, Chief of Staff, 12th ACCS, Robins AFB, Ga.
April 2010 – January 2012, Assistant Director of Operations, 12th ACCS, Robins AFB, GA
January 2012 – December 2012, Student, Army Command and Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
December 2012 – December 2013, Operations Planner, Global Force Management Branch, J-35, Pentagon, D.C.
December 2013 – December 2014, Deputy Chief, Platforms Branch, J-35, Washington, D.C.
December 2014 – September 2015, RC-135 Navigator Qualification Training, 338th CTS, Offutt AFB, Neb.
September 2015 – May 2016, Director of Staff, 38th Reconnaissance Squadron, Offutt AFB, Neb.
May 2016 – May 2017, Director of Operations, 38th RS, Offutt AFB, Neb.
May 2017 – May 2019, Commander, 338th CTS, Offutt AFB, Neb.
May 2019 – May 2020, Student, Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
May 2020 – August 2021, Chief, Future Operations Branch, J-35, USSTRATCOM, Offutt AFB, Neb.
August 2021 – June 2022, Chief, Global Integration Division, J-84, USSTRATCOM, Offutt AFB, Neb.
June 2022 – Present, Commander, 55th OG, Offutt AFB, Neb.

Rating: Master Navigator Flight hours: More than 3,000 Combat hours: 837 Aircraft Flown: T-37, T-1, T-43, E-8C, E-3A and RC-135V/W

Defense Meritorious Service Medal Meritorious Service Medal Air Medal Aerial Achievement Medal Joint Service Commendation Medal Air Force Commendation Medal Air Force Achievement Medal