Colonel Wallace “Rhet” Turnbull III is Director, Cross-Mission Ground & Communications Enterprise, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California. The Enterprise conducts the planning, development and deployment of a complex and dynamic portfolio of ground and communications systems of the highest national priority.
Colonel Turnbull entered the Air Force in 1995 after graduating from the United States Air Force Academy. He has led at the Materiel Leader and Senior Materiel Leader levels and has served in a variety of operations and acquisitions positions, including spacecraft engineer, program manager and chief engineer. Colonel Turnbull has deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM as Ministerial Engagement Officer at International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan Joint Command, Kabul, Afghanistan.
Colonel Turnbull has served in staff assignments at the Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike and at Headquarters, U.S. Strategic Command.
Prior to his current assignment, the Colonel served as the Deputy Director, Space Superiority Systems Directorate, Los Angeles AFB, California. He transitioned to the United States Space Force in July, 2021.
1995 Bachelor of Science degree in astronautical engineering, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo. 1998 Master of Engineering degree in space operations, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Colo.
2002 Squadron Officer School, by correspondence
2008 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., top 15% graduate
2008 Master of Arts degree in military operational art & science, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala. 2009 Certificate in software engineering management, Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio 2015 Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., with academic distinction
2015 Master of Arts degree in strategic studies, Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
1. June 1995 – February 1999, spacecraft engineer, 4th Space Operations Squadron, Schriever AFB, Colo.
2. February 1999 – June 2002, program manager, Space Vehicles Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Hanscom AFB, Mass.
3. June 2002 – July 2005, project manager, later, program manager, Office of Space and Technology, Undersecretary of the Air Force, National Reconnaissance Office, Washington, D.C.
4. July 2005 – June 2006, executive officer to Director, Signals Intelligence Systems Acquisition and Operations Directorate, National Reconnaissance Office, Washington, D.C.
5. June 2006 – August 2007, program manager, Defensive Counterspace Squadron, Space Superiority Systems Wing, Los Angeles AFB, Calif.
6. August 2007 – June 2008, student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
7. June 2008 – April 2010, chief engineer, later, Chief, Systems Management Branch, Metrics and Analysis Division, Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt AFB, Neb.
8. April 2010 – June 2011, special assistant to the Commander, later, Deputy Director, Commander’s Action Group, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt AFB, Neb.
9. June 2011 – January 2012, Materiel Leader, Surety and Effects Branch, Nuclear Systems Division, 498th Nuclear Systems Wing, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
10. January 2012 – June 2013, Materiel Leader, Modernization Branch, Nuclear Systems Division, Nuclear Capabilities Directorate, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
11. June 2013 – July 2014, Chief, Strategic Weapons Programs, Program Executive Officer for Strategic Systems, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
12. July 2014 – June 2015, student, Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
13. July 2015 – June 2016, Deputy Director, Nuclear Technology and Interagency Directorate, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Kirtland AFB, N.M.
14. June 2016 – June 2019, Senior Materiel Leader and Deputy Director, Space Superiority Systems Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB, Calif.
15. June 2019 – present, Senior Materiel Leader and Director, Cross-Mission Ground & Communications Enterprise, Space Systems Command, Los Angeles AFB, Calif.
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
1. June 2008 – April 2010, chief engineer, later Chief, Systems Management Branch, Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt AFB, Neb., as a major
2. April 2010 – June 2011, special assistant to the Commander, later Deputy Director, Commander’s Action Group, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt AFB, Neb., as a major and a Lieutenant Colonel
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Legion of Merit
Defense Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters Joint Service Commendation Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal
Joint Service Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster Air Force Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster National Reconnaissance Office Superior Service Medal
National Reconnaissance Office Director’s Circle Award, 2006
Air Force Space Command Space Research Award, 2008
Secretary of Defense National Security Essay Competition, first place, 2015
"Study of TSX-5 Spacecraft Anomalies Correlated With CEASE Environmental Data", Eos Trans. AGU, 81 (48), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract SH52B-18, 2000.
Dichter, B.K.; Turnbull, W.R.; et al., "Initial on-orbit results from the Compact Environmental Anomaly Sensor (CEASE)," Nuclear Science, IEEE Transactions on, vol.48, no.6, pp.2022-2028, Dec 2001.
“Moving Beyond SSA: An Attribution Architecture for Space Control,” High Frontier Journal, vol.5, no.1, pp.25-28, Nov 2008.
“Time to Come in from the Cold (War): Nuclear Force Structure for an Uncertain World,” Joint Force Quarterly, no. 79, pp.38-45, Oct 2015.
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant May 31, 1995
First Lieutenant May 31, 1997
Captain May 31, 1999
Major August 1, 2005
Lieutenant Colonel July 1, 2010
Colonel May 1, 2016