Lieutenant Colonel Craig J. Cude is Commander of AFROTC Detachment 340, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts. His team’s mission is to develop quality leaders by preparing students to become officers in the US Air Force and US Space Force while earning a college degree.
Prior to this assignment, Lieutenant Colonel Cude was the Commander, 13th Air Support Operations Squadron at Fort Carson, Colorado. There, he led 175 Airmen and civilians in providing combat-ready Special Warfare operators to advise, integrate, and control effects from multiple domains for the Joint Force commander alongside the Army’s 4th Infantry Division. Before Colorado, he served as squadron Director of Operations in Vilseck, Germany where he ensured Special Warfare operator readiness for EUCOM joint fires integration and rapid response for contingency operations. Prior to Vilseck, Lieutenant Colonel Cude was the Deputy Chief, Rated Operations Airmen Management Branch, at the Air Force’s Personnel Center. While there, he was responsible for assignments and personnel policy for more than 18-thousand rated officers and enlisted aircrew and led the development and implementation of the Air Force’s new assignment system, Talent Marketplace. During his career he has served in a variety of other roles as the Chief of Air Force Fighter Assignments, Foreign Area Officer, Chief of Wing Operations Training, Assistant Director of Operations, Mission Commander, and Wing Electronic Combat Pilot.
Lieutenant Colonel Cude received his commission as a distinguished graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Arizona. He is a top graduate of the Indonesian Air Command and Staff College, a senior pilot with more than 1,250 hours in the T-37, T-38, and F-16C/D, and a certified Forward Air Controller, Air Liaison Officer, and Joint Terminal Attack Controller. He has flown combat missions in Operation Iraqi Freedom, deployed to the Republic of South Korea for a flying theater support package, and deployed to Afghanistan as an Air Liaison Officer and Joint Terminal Attack Controller in support of the 2d Striker Calvary Regiment in Operation Enduring Freedom. Lieutenant Colonel Cude is married to the former Yvonne Oertel of Chicago, Illinois, and they have two children: Violet and Tobias.