National Aerospace Organization, Jacksonville Florida 32258



Alex Thagard, Lt Col Retired, National Aerospace Organization

Lt Col Alex Thagard, U.S. Air Force (Ret.)

Director, International Air Force Programs
National Aerospace Organization


Lieutenant Colonel Neal "Alex" Thagard,  United States Air Force  (Retired)
Director, International Air Force Programs, National Aerospace Organization


     As the Director of International Air Force Programs for the National Aerospace Organization, Lieutenant Colonel Thagard exposes private industry to the insider’s viewpoints on how the US government’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system functions. This exposure works hand in hand with informing industry leaders and business developers on how to team with defense companies of varying sizes, both in the US and abroad. The National Aerospace Organization will explain how friendly foreign governments interact with the US government, at various department levels, including: state, defense, and homeland security.

     During his last decade before retirement, Lieutenant Colonel Thagard was the airpower advisor to US Ambassadors to three countries: the Kingdom of Thailand, the Republic of Peru, and the Republic of Indonesia. He was the Director of Air Force Programs in both Peru and Indonesia, where he was responsible for the conduct of all FMS programs. After more than a decade of sanctions, Lieutenant Colonel Thagard spearheaded the first depot level maintenance on the Indonesian Air Force’s strategic fleet of C-130’s. His diplomatic efforts opened doors in Indonesia that had been closed to US businesses for more than 13 years. He was the Chief of the Air Force Section in Lima, Peru and succeeded in creating FALCON and CONDOR, the first US air show to Peru in more than 25 years. While in charge of US Air Force programs in Peru, he put maintenance programs into place that are still functioning today, in order to revitalize their Air Force. As the Air Operations Officer to Thailand he organized over 40 exercises in three years, between the Royal Thai Air Force, the US Air Force, US Marine Corps, US Navy, and the Singapore Air Force.

     Lieutenant Colonel Thagard graduated and was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, in 1988. Following graduation from Specialized Undergraduate Navigator Training in 1989, he flew the C-130E to include 22 combat/combat support missions over Iraq and Saudi Arabia during the First Gulf War. He flew over 180 hours of combat support missions in the MC-130P during Operation NORTHERN WATCH. He held the aero ratings of Instructor and Flight Examiner for nearly a decade. He is a Master Navigator with over 3,100 flying hours. Lieutenant Colonel Thagard is a Foreign Area Officer in both Southeast Asia and Latin America. He has operated in over 30 different countries.



1988       Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences, graduated cum laude, Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas

1998       Master of Public Administration, Troy State University, Alabama

2001       Defense Language Institute, Thai Language, Presidio of Monterey, California

2002       US Air Command and Staff College, in correspondence

2004       US Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia

2004 Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio

2005 Defense Language Institute, Spanish Language, Presidio of Monterey, California

2009 US Air War College, in correspondence



First US Air Force officer to be decorated with the Peruvian Air Force’s Medallion of Merit, in the level of “commander.” Graduated the Defense Language Institute with Honors in Spanish language. Air Force Safety Officer of the Year for the 353rd Special Operations Group. Second in Air Force Special Operations Command. During the first days of the attack of 9/11, [then] Major Thagard organized and executed the bed down of 13 KC-135 Tanker aircraft and 175 aircrew members into an undisclosed location in Thailand, in order to construct an “air bridge” for US bombers. This bridge enabled US bombers to strike their first targets in Afghanistan.



Defense Meritorious Service Medal (3 awards), Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal (2 awards), Joint Service Commendation Medal (2 awards), Air Force Commendation Medal (2 awards), Joint Meritorious Unit Award (2 awards), Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor Device (2 awards), Combat Readiness Medal (3 awards), National Defense Service Medal (2 awards), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal (2 awards for 2 campaigns), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Air Force Overseas Short Tour, Air Force Overseas Long Tour (3 awards), Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Air Force Training Ribbon (2 awards), Peruvian Air Force’s Major General Iglesias Medal of Merit, Level of Comendador, Kuwaiti Liberation Medal (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), Kuwaiti Liberation Medal (Government of Kuwait)





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