Colonel Bruce M. Bender is the Director of Public Affairs, Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. He advises the Commander, Air Force Reserve Command on communication issues; performs functional management of unit and individual mobilization augmentees in the Reserve public affairs career field; provides communication synchronization and planning for headquarters initiatives and recommends public affairs policy to three Numbered Air Forces, 33 wings, and operating locations world-wide.
He earned a commission in 1991 as a graduate of Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at Baylor University, Waco, Texas, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Telecommunications and German. He entered active duty in 1992 and served in a full range of assignments within the Air Force's Communication and Public Affairs career fields.
Col. Bender joined the Air Force Reserve in 2002 as a traditional reservist, starting as a flight commander and culminating as the commander of the 4th Combat Camera Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, Calif., the only Air Force Reserve squadron capable of deploying visual information assets to support domestic and international activities on the ground and in the air. He then served as the Individual Mobilization Augmentee to the Director of the Air Force Public Affairs Agency, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. When called upon, he led a very diverse team of 320 professionals in six geographically separated offices. The Air Force Public Affairs Agency provides Airmen with unique Public Affairs resources to document and convey the Air Force mission and legacy.
Prior to his current assignment, Col. Bender served as the Public Affairs Advisor to the Chief of Air Force Reserve, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., ensuring communication of strategic Air Force Reserve messages to national audiences on trending issues.
1991 Bachelor of Arts degree in Telecommunications & German, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
2002 Squadron Officer School, by correspondence
2008 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2008 Master of Military Operational Art and Science, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2014 Air War College, by correspondence
1. May 1992 – June 1996, Combat Camera Team Leader, Detachment 8, 2nd Combat Camera Squadron, Hill AFB, Utah
2. July 1996 – July 2000, Director of Operations, Visual Information Flight, 30th Communications Squadron, Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
3. August 2000 – January 2002, Broadcast Producer/Director, National Guard Bureau Counterdrug Program, Training and Education Center, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tenn.
4. September 2002 – November 2009, Flight Commander, 4th Combat Camera Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, Calif.
5. December 2009 - January 2012, Squadron Commander, 4th Combat Camera Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, Calif.
6. February 2012 – May 2014, IMA to the Director, Air Force Public Affairs Agency, Lackland AFB, Texas
7. June 2014 – September 2015, Public Affairs Advisor to the Chief of Air Force Reserve, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
8. September 2015 – present, Director of Public Affairs, Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command, Robins AFB, Ga.
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal
Joint Service Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster
Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Force Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Army Achievement Medal
2008 Air Force Space Command Public Affairs Communication Excellence award
2003 Air Force Reserve Squadron Field Grade Officer of the Year
2001 Special Recognition Award, Office of National Drug Control Policy
1998 Armed Forces Communications and Electronic Association Award
1997 Communications and Information Professional of the Year
1997 Squadron Company Grade Officer of the Year
1995 1st Place, National Association of Government Communicators Gold Screen Competition
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant, Dec. 21, 1991
First Lieutenant, Dec. 21, 1993
Captain, Dec. 21, 1995
Major, Dec. 21, 2002
Lieutenant Colonel, Dec. 12, 2009
Colonel, Aug. 1, 2015
(Current as of September 2015)