Brig. Gen. William “Clay” Freeman is the Commandant, Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. The Air War College is the Air Force’s senior professional military education institution, providing post-graduate senior leader development programs focused on joint, multinational, multi-agency warfighting and international security operations, air, space and cyberspace force strategy development and national security planning.
Brig. Gen. Freeman entered the Air Force in 1996 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He earned his navigator wings at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., and has held a variety of special operations flying and joint staff positions. He is an Air Force Intern Program graduate and has served as Deputy Director A5/8 and Chief of Staff, Headquarters, Special Operations Command. He has commanded at the squadron, group and wing levels along with leading two Joint Special Operations Air Components in European Command and Indo-Pacific Command.
The general is a Master Navigator and Electronic Warfare Officer with more than 3,200 hours, including 510 combat hours in the MC-130E.
Prior to his current assignment, Brig. Gen. Freeman served as Director of Operations at Special Operations Command-Europe (SOCEUR), Stuttgart, Germany.
1996 Bachelor of Science, Management, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo.
2000 Master of Science, Operations Management, University of Arkansas, Hurlburt Field, Fla.
2001 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2007 Air Command and Staff College (by correspondence), Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2007 Air Force Intern Program, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
2010 Air War College (by correspondence), Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2015 National Defense Fellowship, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
2017 Joint Professional Military Education II, Norfolk, Va.
2018 Enterprise Leadership Program, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
1. January 1997 – November 1997, Student, Joint Undergraduate Navigator Training, NAS Pensacola, Fla.
2. November 1997 – March 1998, Student (Distinguished Graduate), Joint Electronic Warfare School, Corry Station, Fla.
3. April 1998 – September 1998, Student, MC-130E Combat Talon I EWO, 19th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla.
4. September 1998 – January 2000, Instructor, Executive Officer, Chief of Mobility, 8th Special Operations Squadron, 16th Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, Fla.
5. January 2000 – October 2002, Evaluator, Chief of Mobility, 8th Special Operations Squadron, Duke Field, Fla.
6. October 2002 – July 2003, Chief, Group Stan/Eval, 16th Special Operations Group, Hurlburt Field, Fla.
7. August 2003 – January 2005, Air Force Intern, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
8. January 2005 – June 2005, Student (Distinguished Graduate), MC-130H Combat Talon II, 550th Special Operations Squadron, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
9. June 2005 – May 2008, MC-130H, Evaluator, Flight Commander of Current Operations and Training, Chief of Safety, Flight Commander of Stan/Eval, 7th Special Operations Squadron, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, U.K.
10. June 2008 – August 2010, Executive Officer to the Deputy Director, Center for Special Operations; Joint Program Analyst, J8-AF, Headquarters U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill AFB, Fla.
11. August 2010 – June 2012, Operations Officer, 7th Special Operations Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, U.K.
12. June 2012 – June 2014, Commander, 7th Special Operations Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, U.K.
13. July 2014 – May 2015, National Defense Fellow, Department of State, East Asia Pacific Bureau, Washington, D.C.
14. May 2015 – June 2017, Commander, 353rd Special Operations Group and Joint Special Operations Air Component-Pacific, Kadena Air Base, Japan
15. July 2017 – June 2018, Deputy Director, Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command Plans, Programs, Requirements, Hurlburt Field, Fla.
16. July 2018 – June 2019, Chief of Staff, Headquarters AFSOC, Hurlburt Field, Fla.
17. June 2019-September 2020, Commander, 352nd Special Operations Wing and Joint Special Operations Air Component-Europe, RAF Mildenhall, U.K.
18. September 2020 – July 2022, Director of Operations, Headquarters, U.S. Special Operations Command-Europe, Stuttgart, Germany
19. July 2022 – present, Commandant, Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. June 2008 - August 2010, Executive Officer to the Deputy Director, Center for Special Operations; Joint Program Analyst, J8-AF, Headquarters U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill AFB, Fla., as a major
2. September 2020 - July 2022, Director of Operations, Headquarters, U.S. Special Operations Command-Europe, Stuttgart, Germany, as a colonel
Rating: Master Navigator
Flight Hours: More than 3,200
Aircraft Flown: MC-130E/H/J, CV-22B, T-34C
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Joint Service Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant May 29, 1996
First Lieutenant May 29, 1998
Captain May 29, 2000
Major May 1, 2006
Lieutenant Colonel Dec. 1, 2010
Colonel Aug. 1, 2015
Brigadier General Feb. 2, 2023
(Current as of February 2023)