Colonel Leo Lawson is the Commander, 81st Training Group, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. He commands the United States Air Force's second largest technical training group consisting of more than 4,000 officer, enlisted, and civilian personnel from all four Defense Department services and international militaries. He leads 1,300 instructors and staff who deliver courses to more than 2,500 non-prior service Airmen and 500 temporary duty students’ daily ultimately producing 29,000 course graduates annually.
Colonel Lawson was born in Miami and raised in Columbia, South Carolina. He enlisted in the South Carolina Air National Guard in 1987, where he served honorably until 1993 when he began the transition to becoming an Air Force Officer. In 1996 he completed his training at Keesler AFB to become a Basic Communications Officer. His assignments include various Air Combat, Air Mobility, Cyberspace/Communication, Air Force Honor Guard, and Training assignments across four major commands. In 2016-2017 he directly supported two of the three Air Force Core missions of Space and Cyberspace by developing the next generation of cyberspace weapon systems.
1993 Bachelor of Media Arts, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.
1995 Bachelor of Science in Office Administration, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.
1996 Basic Communication Officers Training, Keesler AFB, Miss.
2000 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2002 Master of Information Systems Management, Webster’s University, Bolling AFB, D.C.
2005 Communications Battlespace Management Course, Keesler AFB, Miss.
2005 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2011 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2017 Space Operations Executive-Level Course, Peterson AFB, Colo.
1. August 1995 - September 1996, Combat Camera Producer/Director, 615th Air Mobility Operations Squadron, Travis AFB, Calif.
2. October 1996 - September 1997, Protocol Officer, 60th Air Mobility Wing, Travis, AFB, Calif.
3. October 1997 - March 1999, Information System Flight Commander, 60th Communications Squadron, Travis AFB, Calif.
4. April 1999 - June 2000, Support Flight Commander, U.S. Air Force Honor Guard, Bolling AFB, D.C.
5. July 2000 - February 2002, Ceremonial Flight Commander, U.S. Air Force Honor Guard, Bolling AFB, D.C.
6. March 2002 - November 2002, Operations Officer, U.S. Air Force Honor Guard, Bolling AFB, D.C.
7. December 2002 - December 2004, Action Officer, Directorate of Communications, Langley AFB, Va.
8. January 2005 - April 2006, Flight Commander, Command and Control Systems, Directorate of Communications, Air Combat Command Communications Group, 83rd Communications Squadron, Langley AFB, Va.
9. April 2006 - February 2007, Flight Commander, Advanced Systems and Concepts Training, 333rd Training Squadron, Keesler AFB, Miss.
10. February 2007 - May 2008, Director of Operations, 333rd Training Squadron, Keesler AFB, Miss.
11. May 2008 - July 2010, Commander, 14th Communications Squadron, Columbus AFB, Miss.
12. July 2010 - January 2011, Division Chief, Joint Exercises, U.S. Cyber Command Training and Exercises, Fort George G. Meade, Md.
13. February 2011 - July 2013, Deputy Director, Joint Operations Center, U.S. Cyber Command, Fort George G. Meade, Md.
14. July 2013 - July 2016, Branch Chief, Plans, Engagements, Training and Exercises, Joint Cyber Center, C4/Cyber Directorate (J6), Patch Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany
15. July 2016 - August 2017, Division Chief, Cyberspace Superiority, A5/8/9 Directorate, U.S. Air Force Space Command, Peterson AFB, Colo.
16. August 2017 - Present, Commander, 81st Training Group, Keesler AFB, Miss.
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Achievement Medal
Joint Meritorious Unit Award with three oak leaf clusters
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with one silver leaf cluster
Air Force Organizational Excellence Award
Air Force Good Conduct Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star cluster
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal
Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border
Air Force Longevity Service with four oak leaf clusters
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon with Bronze Star cluster
Air Force Training Ribbon with one oak leaf cluster
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant Aug. 18, 1995
First Lieutenant Aug. 18, 1997
Captain Aug. 18, 1999
Major Jan. 1, 2006
Lieutenant Colonel Nov. 1, 2010
Colonel Feb. 1, 2017
(Current as of August 2017)