Upon graduation from Roncalli High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, Tom Finneran attended the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, graduating in 1992 with a bachelor of science degree in engineering sciences and a commission as a second lieutenant in the US Air Force. After an unsuccessful attempt to become a pilot, he served as a command post controller until the Air Force selected him to attend navigator training, which he successfully completed in November 1995. His flying experience includes time as a navigator in airdrop and special operations missions in the C-141B; as an instructor at the navigator, or now, combat systems officer schoolhouse in the T-43; and five years as an electronic warfare officer in the RC-135.
His staff experience includes serving as an executive officer for a squadron commander and general officer wing commander; training program manager in the Directorate of Operations at HQ Air Education and Training Command (AETC); member of the AETC commander’s action group and director of executive services; and speechwriter for the AETC commander.
Tom’s significant leadership experience includes two years as squadron director of operations (DO) and two years as squadron commander for the 95th Reconnaissance Squadron at RAF Mildenhall, England. He has completed three years of a four-year assignment as the deputy chief, Combat Plans Division, for a 40-member division at NATO Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) Uedem, Germany, and the deputy US senior national representative (SNR) for 30 American positions.
In addition to his peacetime leadership positions, Tom also led in combat and combat support roles as executive officer to the director of mobility forces in the US Central Command Air Forces CAOC at Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia, at the start of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan; DO for the 763rd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron supporting OEF from Al Udeid Air Base in the Middle East; and commander of the 95th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron deployed to British Indian Ocean Territory Diego Garcia in support of US Africa Command intelligence collection missions. He also deployed to the NATO CAOC in Poggio Renatico, Italy, as an air tasking order (ATO) coordinator during Operation Unified Protector, the NATO-led operations in Libya.
With more than 22 years of military service in the mobility air forces, combat air forces, training and education command, and an international CAOC, as well as his leadership experience culminating as a squadron commander and CAOC deputy division chief, he is uniquely qualified to share his views on leadership from a variety of perspectives.
Tom has been married to his amazing wife, Ashley, for 16 wonderful years, and they are the proud parents of Eliza (15) and William (13).