Colonel Colleen M. Ryan graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Medical Technology. Following her commissioning from the AFROTC program, Colonel Ryan attended Undergraduate Navigator Training, Mather AFB, California. After earning her navigator wings, she was assigned to the 55th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron at McClellan AFB, California. Colonel Ryan was subsequently selected to be a Special Air Mission (SAM) Navigator in the 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews AFB, Maryland. Her aviation skills resulted in highly successful missions supporting the Department of State and DOD agencies, as well as instructor and evaluator qualifications.
As she progressed in rank and responsibility, she served in staff positions at Air Force and major command level. As a staff officer on the Air Staff, she was in charge of worldwide Air Force Advance Agent support to the President of the United States. She served a joint tour at Cheyenne Mountain Air Station, including mission director, where she was responsible for worldwide attack warning, space defense, surveillance and control. Colonel Ryan served as Chief, Commander’s Action Group, Headquarters United States Air Forces in Europe and as Commander, 89th Operations Support Squadron, Andrews AFB. In addition, she served as Commander, 100th Mission Support Group, RAF Mildenhall, England. During these staff and leadership assignments, she earned a Master of Science Degree in Aerospace Science Technology from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University as well as a Master of Strategic Studies from the Air War College. In 2004, Colonel Ryan took command of the 88th Air Base Wing where she commanded the largest wing in the Air Force with more than 5000 officers, enlisted, Air Force civilians and contractor employees. She was the first female to be Commander, 88th Air Base Wing and Installation Commander at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio. In those roles, she led support and services at the largest, most diverse, and most organizationally complex base in the Air Force. Her scope of responsibility included a major acquisition center, research and development laboratories, a major command headquarters, an airlift wing, and the world’s largest military air museum. She retired from active duty in 2008 after 26 years of service.
In her civilian career, Colonel Ryan became the President of Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio in May of 2011. She also served as Vice President of Defense Programs at The Dayton Development Coalition and has been a director since 2012. She serves as a Member of the Governing Board at the Dayton Foundation and served as a Trustee at Dayton Children’s Hospital.
Colonel Ryan’s awards and decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal with bronze star. She has a master navigator rating with over 3,400 flying hours in the T-43, WC-135, C-135, and VC-137 aircraft.
Colonel Ryan commanded with distinction. For outstanding leadership and service to the United States Air Force, Colonel Colleen M. Ryan is inducted into the ROTC Hall of Fame.