Our Commander





Colonel Thomas McCarthy is the Commander of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Detachment 009, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. Col McCarthy is responsible for the education and training of ROTC cadets from Yale University and seven associated crosstown schools during their four-year officer education and training program. Col McCarthy also serves as a member of the Yale faculty as the Professor (Adjunct) of Aerospace Studies.

Commissioned from the United States Air Force (USAF) Academy in 1990, Col McCarthy is a helicopter pilot with over 2,000 hours in special operations and rescue aircraft, gaining combat experience in Operations NOBLE ANVIL, ASSURED RESPONSE, ALLIED FORCE, SOUTHERN WATCH, and ENDURING FREEDOM. He has served as the Presidents Military Aide, commanded the USAF’s premier strategy school, and received his doctoral degree from the Fletcher School, Tufts University.

Col McCarthy’s operational flying experience includes HH-3Es at Kadena Air Base, Japan and MH-53J/Ms at Royal Air Force (RAF), Mildenhall, United Kingdom and Hurlburt Field, Fla. as an instructor pilot, mission flight lead, and airborne mission commander for joint assault forces. In addition to his tour at the White House, Col McCarthy’s non-flying tours include; Commander School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Director USAF Center for Strategy and Technology, instructing as a professor at Air War College, interning for the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and serving on the Air Staff‘s Strategy Think Tank, the “Skunk Works”.


1990 Bachelor of Science in Management, United States Air Force Academy, Colo.

1994 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base (AFB), Ala. (Distinguished Graduate)

1996 Cross Cultural Communications Course, USAF Special Operations School, Hurlburt Field, Fla.

1997 Air Assault School, Fort Belvoir, Va. (Distinguished Graduate)

1998 Masters in Organizational Management, George Washington University

2000 Joint Combat Search and Rescue Course, Hurlburt Field, Fla.

2002 Joint Doctrine Air Campaign Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

2003 Masters of Military Operational Art and Science, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala. (Distinguished Graduate)

2004 Air War College (Correspondence)

2004 Masters of Airpower Art and Science, School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

2012 Doctor of Philosophy, The Fletcher School, Tufts University, Medford, Mass.


May 1990–March 1991, Student Pilot, 3588 FTS, Fort Rucker, Ala. (Distinguished Graduate)

March 1992–July 1994, HH-3E Pilot, 33rd RQS, Kadena Air Base, Japan

July 1994–March 1995, MH-53J Helicopter Student Pilot, 551st SOS, Kirtland AFB, N.M.

March 1995–August 1996, MH-53J Aircraft Commander, 21st SOS, RAF Mildenhall, UK

August 1996–November 1998, Air Force Intern, Pentagon, Washington D.C. (Deputy Secretary of Defense’s Office, OSD Compensation, AF/XOOS Special Operations)

November 1998–December 1999, MH-53J/M Instructor Pilot/Chief of Mobility, 20th SOS, Hurlburt Field, Fla.

December 1999–May 2001, Flight Commander/MH-53J/M Instructor Pilot, 20th SOS, Hurlburt Field, Fla.

May 2001–July 2002,16th Operations Group Weapons and Tactics Officer/MH-53M/J Instructor Pilot, Hurlburt Field, Fla.

July 2002–June 2003, Student, Air Command and Staff College Student, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

June 2003–July 2004, Student, School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

July 2004–October 2005, HQ USAF/XOXS “Skunk Works” Deputy Chief, Strategy Branch, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

October 2005–January 2008, Military Aide to the President of the United States, White House, Washington, D.C.

January 2008–May 2008, White House Military Office, Special Projects Officer, White House, Washington, D.C.

May 2008–October 2011, PhD Candidate, The Fletcher School at Tufts University, Medford, Mass.

October 2011–August 2012, Instructor/Deputy Department Chair International Security Studies, Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

August 2013–June 2014, Director USAF Center for Strategy and Technology, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

June 2014–June 2016, Commandant and Dean the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

June 2016–Present, Commander Air Force ROTC Det 009, Professor of Aerospace Studies, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. 


Defense Superior Service Medal

Legion of Merit

Meritorious Service Medal

Air Medal

Defense Meritorious Service Medal

Air Force Commendation Medal with one device


Second Lieutenant May 30, 1990

First Lieutenant May 30, 1992

Captain May 30, 1994

Major July 1, 2001

Lieutenant Colonel May 1, 2005

Colonel October 1, 2008