Base Commander

                                                         

COLONEL ROBERT J. KIRBY
Colonel Robert J. Kirby is the Commander of the Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC) Gulfport, Miss. The primary mission of the Gulfport CRTC is to host wing level readiness training for the Air National Guard and to provide facilities for Mississippi National Guard and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency led disaster response. The CRTC holds a certification as a Joint National Training Center emphasizing Special Operations Forces (SOF), Air Combat Training, Close Air Support (CAS), and Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR). Col Kirby joined the Mississippi Air National Guard in March of 1988 as a Radar Operator with the 255th Air Control Squadron. He attended multiple technical schools and professional development courses culminating his enlisted career as a Weapons Director, responsible for controlling combat aircraft in a battlefield environment. He received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in November 1996 through the Air National Guard’s Academy of Military Science. After his formal training as an Air Battle Manager, Col Kirby served in numerous leadership positions to include Director of Training and Chief of Standardization/Evaluations. Col Kirby has been presidentially activated four times in support of Operations SOUTHERN WATCH, NOBLE EAGLE AND ENDURING FREEDOM, INHERENT RESOLVE, IRAQI FREEDOM, RESOLUTE SUPPORT, and the Air Defense of the Arabian Gulf and once in response to Hurricane Katrina. These activations have carried him to tours in four foreign countries and numerous stateside deployments to include defense of the National Capitol Region. Prior to his current position, Col Kirby was the Commander at the 255th Air Control Squadron.

EDUCATION
1992 Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, Millsaps College, Jackson, Miss.
1995 Air Weapons Director School, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.
1996 Academy of Military Science, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Alcoa, Tenn.
1997 Air Battle Manager School, Top Graduate, Tyndall AFB, Fla.
2004 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2012 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence
2021 Master of Strategic Studies, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pa., by distance learning

ASSIGNMENTS
1. March 1988 – October 1996, Aerospace Command and Control Operator, 255th Tactical Control Squadron, Gulfport, Miss.
2. June 1995 – December 1995, Student, Weapons Director School, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.
3. October 1996 – November 1996, Student, Academy of Military Science, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tenn.
4. May 1997 – December 1997, Undergraduate Air Battle Manager Training, 325th Air Control Squadron, Tyndall AFB, Fla.
5. December 1995 – June 2015, I/E Mission Crew Commander, 255th Air Control Squadron, Gulfport, Miss. (June 1999 –December 1999, Mission Crew Commander, 9th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait)(September 2009 – February 2010, Mission Crew Commander, 71 Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, Al Udeid Air Base,Qatar) (May 2013 November 2013, Mission Crew Commander, 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, Al Dhafra AirBase, United Arab Emirates)
6. January 2015 a February 2019, Director of Operations, Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, Gulfport, Miss (November 2017 – May 2018, Mission Crew Commander, 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, Al Dhafra AB, United Arab Emirates)
7. February 2021 – December 2022, Commander, 255th Air Control Squadron, Gulfport, Miss
8. December 2022 – Present, Commander, Combat Readiness Training Center, Gulfport, Miss

MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Meritorious Service Medal with two devices
Air Force Commendation Medal with three devices
Meritorious Unit Award with device
AF Outstanding Unit Award with four devices Combat Readiness Medal with nine devices
Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal with device National Defense Service Medal with device
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Armed Forces Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal AF Overseas Ribbon Short
Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border with device
AF Longevity Service with four devices
Armed Forces Reserve Medal with three 'M' devices USAF NCO PME Graduate Ribbon
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon with device

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND ASSOCIATIONS
Life Member of the National Guard Association of Mississippi
Life Associate Member of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States

EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant Nov. 21, 1996
First Lieutenant Nov. 21, 1998
Captain Dec. 21, 2000
Major June 8, 2005
Lieutenant Colonel Nov. 16, 2012
Colonel Dec. 20, 2022

(Current as of January 2023)

Director of Operations

Chief Enlisted Manager