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Colonel Karyn L. Christen is the Commander, 726th Operations Group, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. The 726th Operations Group oversees AFRC members assigned to the 432d Wing/Air Expeditionary Wing, the 49th Wing and the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, supporting training and combat missions involving the RPA weapon system. Unit members fly the MQ-1, MQ-9, RQ-4 and RQ-170.

Col. Christen was commissioned as a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and entered active duty in 1995. Immediately after commissioning, she was sent to the University of Texas at Austin, earning a Master of Science degree in engineering. In 1997, she graduated from pilot training and was then assigned to Travis Air Force Base flying the KC-10. In 2001, she accepted a special duty assignment at the U.S. Air Force Academy, where she mentored cadets in numerous airmanship programs and served as an instructor/evaluator pilot, ultimately becoming Chief of Operations Group Standardization/Evaluation for Motorgliders. She joined the Reserve in 2005, where she continued instructing and evaluating Academy Flight Screening and the Powered Flight Program. She returned to California in 2010, this time flying the RQ-4 Global Hawk with the 13th Reconnaissance Squadron. In 2014, she served as the Deputy Commander of the 940th Operations Group, responsible for the operational management of the Group’s Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance mission at four units supporting multiple missions, including battle staff, Air and Space Operations Center and RQ-4 Global Hawk. Col. Christen’s previous assignment was Commander, 13th Reconnaissance Squadron.

Col. Christen has deployed numerous times, supporting Operations ENDURING FREEDOM, NEW DAWN, SOUTHERN WATCH, DESERT FOX, PHOENIX SCORPION I & II, and ALLIED FORCE. She also supported Operations TOMODACHI and ODYSSEY DAWN from her deployed-in-garrison role at Beale AFB, Calif. She is a command pilot with over 2,300 hours.


1991 United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School, USAF Academy, Colo.

1995 Distinguished Graduate, Bachelor of Science in civil engineering, USAF Academy, Colo. 1996 Master of Science in environmental engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 2002 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

2008 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence 2012 Leadership Today and Tomorrow Course, Washington D.C.

2015 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence

2015 Reserve Component National Security Course, National Defense University, Washington D.C. 2016 NATO Reserve Forces Integration Course, NATO School, Oberammergau, Germany


1. August 1995 - October 1996, graduate student, University of Texas at Austin, Texas

2. October 1996 - October 1997, Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas

3. October 1997 - October 1999, KC-10 pilot, Stan/Eval liaison officer, Travis AFB, Calif.

4. October 1999 - August 2001, KC-10 aircraft commander and training officer, Travis AFB, Calif.

5. August 2001 - October 2005, TG-4/7/10/14 instructor pilot, evaluator pilot, flight commander, Chief of Operations Group Standardization/Evaluation Motorglider, USAF Academy, Colo.

6. October 2005 - October 2006, DA-20 flight evaluator, Powered Flight Program Manager and Assistant Chief Academy Flight Screening, USAF Academy, Colo.

7. October 2006 - October 2010, T-41/52 instructor pilot and Stan/Eval Officer, USAF Academy, Colo.

8. October 2010 - September 2012, RQ-4 mission commander, Operations Flight Commander, Beale AFB, Calif.

9. September 2012 – February 2014, Commander, 940th Operations Support Flight, Beale AFB, Calif.

10. February 2014 – April 2015, Deputy Commander, 940th Operations Group, Beale AFB, Calif.

11. April 2015 – April 2018, Commander, 13th Reconnaissance Squadron, Beale AFB, Calif.

12. April 2018 – Present, Commander, 726th Operations Group, Nellis AFB, Nevada


Rating: Command pilot and Federal Aviation Administration Certified Flight Instructor Instrument Flight hours: More than 2,300

Aircraft flown: KC-10, T-37, T-1, T-41, T-52, TG-4/7/10/14, DA-20/40, RQ-4A/B and MQ-9


Meritorious Service Medal with 5 devices Air Medal

Aerial Achievement Medal

Air Force Commendation Medal Air Force Achievement Medal Combat Readiness Medal

National Defense Service Medal with bronze star Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal

Kosovo Campaign Medal with bronze star Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal Air & Space Campaign Medal

Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal Armed Forced Reserve Medal with 1 'M' Device NATO (Non-Article 5) Medal


Second Lieutenant May 31, 1995

First Lieutenant May 31, 1997

Captain May 31, 1999

Major July 1, 2005

Lieutenant Colonel October 1, 2012

Colonel July 1, 2018

(Current as of June 2018)