Information provided by Missouri Military Academy

San Benito native Lt. Col. Ian Wolfe, USAF (Ret), was recently inducted to Missouri Military Academy (MMA) Hall of Fame for Distinguished Military Service. Members of the MMA Alumni Hall of Fame have shown a strong commitment to duty, honor and achievement. MMA is an all-male, college preparatory boarding school for grades 7-12, located in Mexico, Missouri. The Academy’s mission is to provide a structured and disciplined educational environment that prepares young men for success.

Wolfe began his five-year stay at MMA in 1986, which is where his flying career took off after winning one of two aviation scholarships that led him to his first-ever solo flight in 1991. Upon graduation from MMA, Wolfe earned his degree in engineering from Texas A&M University, where he also received his commission as a naval officer. He spent 14 years in the Navy as a naval aviator and then was selected for an inter-service transfer to the Air Force Special Operations Command.

Wolfe served seven years as a special engineer pilot, air commando to the elite 6th Special Operations Squadron as a foreign internal defense (FID) professional. In addition to conducting FID missions, Wolfe provided watch for the elite forces on the ground as a tactical air warden, controlling the airspace over the attblefield. Most of his missions were flown over Afghanistan, resulting in the seizure of more than 300 high-value individuals, which impacted strategic-level national defense objectives. His actions assisted with the eradication of a ringleader responsible for 60% of the improvised explosive device (IED) production in northern Afghanistan; during that mission, he was directly responsible for saving the lives of two American soldiers. 

Wolfe has been deployed multiple times to Afghanistan and Africa as a U-28A Draco pilot. As the Special Operations Forces Air Component Commander, he facilitated 440 sorties, 909 hours, 644 passengers and 258,000 pounds of cargo providing support to 31 countries. He played a significant part of disaster relief efforts during Hurricane Katrina, the Kashmir Earthquake and Hurricane Felix, where he directed and participated in numerous missions resulting in the rescue and recovery of thousands of people.

Throughout his 21 years of military service in the Navy and the Air Force, Wolfe has amassed more than 4,000 flying hours and 1,309 combat hours, and he has been awarded 12 Air Medals. Although offered the opportunity to command his own squadron, he chose to retire from active duty in the fall of 2016. MMA is honored to recognize San Benito native Lt. Col. Wolfe.