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Marine Aircraft Group 31


Marine Aircraft Group 31

MAG 31 Leaders
Lieutenant Colonel Joshua M. Pieczonka VMFA(AW)-224 Commanding Officer

Lieutenant Colonel Pieczonka graduated from The State University of New York at Buffalo in May 1997 with a bachelor’s of science degree in Exercise Science, was commissioned in April 1998 a second lieutenant, and ordered to The Basic School (TBS).

In April 1999, Lieutenant Colonel Pieczonka reported for Naval Flight Officer (NFO) training at NAS Pensacola, FL.  He was designated an NFO in October 2000 and ordered to Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 (VMFAT-101), MCAS Miramar CA for training as a Weapons Systems Officer (WSO) in the F/A-18D.  Upon completion of training with VMFAT-101 in January 2002, Lieutenant Colonel Pieczonka was directed to report to Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533 (VMFA(AW)-533) at MCAS Beaufort, SC.

During his tour with VMFA(AW)-533, Lieutenant Colonel Pieczonka served as a Schedules and Flight Officer, Ground Safety Officer, and Assistant WSO Training Officer.  Lieutenant Colonel Pieczonka executed deployments in support of Operation Southern Watch, Operation Iraqi Freedom and a Western Pacific deployment as part of the Marine Corps’ Unit Deployment Program (UDP).

Lieutenant Colonel Pieczonka detached from VMFA(AW)-533 in May 2005 and reported for duty as a Forward Air Controller with the 2d Reconnaissance Battalion at Camp Lejeune, NC where he served as the Battalion Air Officer.  While attached to the 2d Marine Division, he was again order to the Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility (AOR) as a combat replacement individual augment to Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He executed operations as the assistant Regimental Air Officer for Regimental Combat Team Two (RCT-2) aboard Camp Ripper at Al Asad Airbase, Iraq.  Lieutenant Colonel Pieczonka returned to serve the remainder of his FAC tour as the Air Officer for 2d Tank Battalion.

In November 2006, Lieutenant Colonel Pieczonka reported to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One where he served as an Air Officer Department Instructor.  While on staff at MAWTS-1, he completed the Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) Course in the spring of 2008 and served an additional role as an F/A-18 instructor for the remainder of his tour.  Lieutenant Colonel Pieczonka was the subject matter expert for Close Air Support execution and doctrine, terminal attack control standardization, Digital Precision Strike Suite (DPSS) and portable targeting devices, precision guided weapons targeting and mensuration, and fixed-wing tactics.

Lieutenant Colonel Pieczonka was selected to attend the United States Air Force, Air Command and Staff College, Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, AL in the summer of 2009.  He earned a Master’s Degree in Operational Art and Military Science with a concentration on Small Wars and Counter Insurgency Operations. 
In August 2010, Lieutenant Colonel Pieczonka reported for duty to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Aircraft Group-11, and was assigned to VMFA(AW)-225.  During his tour of duty, he executed the Operations Officer, Assistant Aircraft Maintenance Officer, and Director of Safety and Standardization Officer billets.  Lieutenant Colonel Pieczonka executed two western Pacific UDPs during his 29 months with the Vikings.  He completed the remainder of his MAG-11 tour as the Tactics Training Facility (TTF) Officer in Charge and the MAG-11 WTI. 

Lieutenant Colonel Pieczonka reported to Headquarters, United States Marine Corps, Department of Aviation in June 2013 to serve in the Aviation Weapons Requirements Branch (APW) as the Aviation Training System Requirements Officer.  In the summer of 2014, he was reassigned to the Aviation Plans, Programs, Joint/Congressional Matters, Doctrine and Budgeting Branch (APP) as the Tactical Air Control Party, Joint Fire Support, and Joint Close Air Support Executive Steering Committee Action Officer.  He also served as the Contract Air Services/Adversary Requirements Officer.  During his tour in the Pentagon, Lieutenant Colonel Pieczonka deployed forward in 2015 to augment the Combined Joint Force Land Component Command, Combined Joint Task Force-Iraq as the Strike Director at the operations center in Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

In August 2016, Lieutenant Colonel Pieczonka reported to Marine Aircraft Group 31 at MCAS Beaufort, SC.  He executed the F/A-18 WSO refresh period of instruction at VMFAT-101, and served as the Marine Aviation Training System Site Beaufort Operations Officer and acting Officer in Charge until 26 March 2017.  Lieutenant Colonel Pieczonka was reassigned and directed to report to VMFA(AW)-224 to assume the Executive Officer billet and accompany the Bengals on the deployment in support of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Crisis Response, CENTCOM (SPMAGTF-CR-CC) 17.2. On 23 February 2018, Lieutenant Colonel Pieczonka assumed command of VMFA(AW)-224 and is currently executing that assignment.

Lieutenant Colonel Pieczonka’s personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (with Strike Flight Numeral 8), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with 2 Gold Stars in lieu of 2nd and 3rd Awards), and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device.