Col. Timothy W. Thurston II is the Commander, U.S Air Force Academy Preparatory School. He commands faculty and staff that motivate, prepare and evaluate selected candidates in an educational, military, moral and physical environment to perform successfully and enhance diversity at USAFA. Prior to this assignment, Colonel Thurston served as Senior Director of Operations for the 618th Air Operations Center (Tanker Airlift Control Center). The 618 AOC (TACC) is responsible for operational planning, scheduling, directing and assessing a fleet of approximately 1,100 aircraft in support of combat delivery and strategic airlift, air refueling and aeromedical operations around the world.

Colonel Thurston received his commission from the U.S Air Force Academy in 1995. Since then, he has flown as a navigator, instructor navigator, and evaluator navigator, in C-130E, C-130H and T-43 aircraft. He is a Master Navigator with more than 2,500 hours. He taught at Undergraduate Navigator Training and served at Headquarters U.S. Air Force in Legislative Liaison. Colonel Thurston has commanded twice at the squadron level, at Basic Military Training (BMT) at Lackland AFB, Texas and the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard at Bolling AFB, District of Columbia. Colonel Thurston has deployed to multiple operations prior to 9/11, and Operation Enduring Freedom since the global war on terror began.

1995 Bachelor of Science in Political Science, United States Air Force Academy
2001 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2001 Master of Business Administration, Webster University
2005 Air Command and Staff College (Correspondence)
2007 Master of Arts in Homeland Defense and Security, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif.
2010 Air War College (Correspondence)
2016 Master of Strategic Studies, Air War College, Maxwell AFB, AL.

1. Aug. 1995 - June 1996, student, Undergraduate Navigator Training, 558 & 562d Flying Training Squadron, Randolph AFB, Texas
2. July 1996 - Feb. 1997, student, C-130 Initial Qualification, Little Rock AFB, Ark.
3. Feb. 1997 - April 2000, Navigator, Instructor Navigator and Chief Scheduler, 61st Airlift Squadron, Little Rock AFB, Ark.
4. April 2000 - Nov. 2003, Instructor Navigator, Evaluator Navigator and Student Flight Commander, Undergraduate Navigator Training, 562d Flying Training Squadron, Randolph AFB, Texas
5. Nov. 2003 - March 2004, C-130 Requalification, Little Rock AFB, Ark.
6. March 2004 - Aug. 2006, Instructor Navigator, Assistant Director of Operations, Wing Director of Staff and Wing Executive Officer, 36 Airlift Squadron & 374 Airlift Wing, Yokota AB, Japan
7. Sep. 2006 - Dec. 2007, Student, Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, Calif.
8. Jan. 2008 - May 2011, Deputy Chief, Air Operations, Legislative Liaison, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, the Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia
9. June 2011 - April 2013, Commander, 322d Training Squadron (Basic Military Training), Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas
10. May 2013 – May 2015, Commander of the USAF Honor Guard, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, District of Colombia
11. June 2015 – May 2016, Student, Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
12. June 2016 – May 2018, Senior Director of Operations, 618th Air Operations Center, Scott AFB, Ill.
13. June 2018 – Present, Commander, United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo.

Rating: Master Navigator
Flight hours: More than 2,500
Aircraft: T-43, C-130E, C-130H

Second Lieutenant  May 1995
First Lieutenant  May 1997
Captain  May 1999
Major  August 2005
Lieutenant  Colonel  July 2010
Colonel  September 2016

(Current as of December 2019)