Lt. Col. Harley P. Thompson

Lt Col Harley P. Thompson

Lt Col Harley P. Thompson is the Commander of Air Force ROTC Detachment 785, located at the University of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee.  He serves as Department Head of Aerospace Studies and is an Aerospace Studies Professor.
Colonel Thompson earned his commission from Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama in 2000.

Prior to his current position, Colonel Thompson served as the Chief of Legislative Affairs to the Commander, U.S. Air Forces Europe-Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) Ramstein Air Base, Germany.  In this role, Colonel Thompson acted as the Commander's liaison between Washington D.C. and the Congressional advisor to USAFE-AFAFRICA Headquarters staff, Third Air Force, and eight Wing Commanders. 

Additionally, he served as a Political Affairs Specialist assigned to the USAFE-AFAFRICA Headquarters A5 Directorates.  As the Branch Chief, he managed the information flow between USAFE-AFAFRICA Senior leaders and staff, U.S. European Command J5, and eighteen U.S. Defense Attachés to meet the Supreme Allied Commander Europe's shift from an AOR focused on building partnership capacity to an AOR set to deter Russia. 

Finally, Colonel Thompson is a Joint Qualified Officer with two Joint assignments; the U.S. Pacific Command J2 Directorate as the Northeast Asia Division's Operations Officer and the U.S. European Command J2 Directorate where he deployed in support of Operation JOINT FORGE as the Deputy Commander, National Intelligence Cell – Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.


  • 1989 Bachelor of Arts, Memphis State University, Memphis Tennessee
  • 1996 Master of International Relations, Troy State University, European Region, Troy Alabama
  • 2005 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
  • 2009 Air Command and Staff College, (by correspondence), Maxwell AFB, Alabama
  • 2012 Joint Professional Military Education Phase II, Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia
  • 2014 Master of Military Operational Arts and Sciences, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, AL
  • 2017 Air War College (by correspondence), Maxwell AFB, Alabama


  • July 1991 - September 1991, 3701st Basic Military Training Squadron, Lackland AFB, Texas
  • September 1991 - November 1991, 3440th Technical Training Squadron, Lowry, AFB, Colorado
  • November 1991 - April 1994, 36th Supply Squadron, Bitburg Air Base, Germany
  • May 1994 - August 1995, 10th Supply Squadron, Royal Air Force Alconbury, England
  • July 1995 - July 1998, 100th Supply Squadron, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England
  • July 1998 - April 2000, Headquarters, J2 Directorate, U.S. Strategic Command, Omaha, Nebraska
  • April 2000 - July 2000, Officer Training School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama
  • July 2000 - May 2001, 315th Training Squadron, Goodfellow Air Force Base, San Angelo, Texas
  • May 2001 - May 2003, 86th Operations/932nd Air Control Squadrons, Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland
  • June 2003 - June 2006, Headquarters, J2 Directorate, U.S. European Command, Stuttgart Germany
  • June 2006 - May 2010, Headquarters, Air Force ISR Agency, San Antonio, Texas
  • December 2008 – December 2009, 609th Air and Space Operations Center, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar
  • May 2010 - June 2013, Headquarters, J2 Directorate, U.S. Pacific Command, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
  • June 2013 - June 20014, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama
  • July 2014 - Present, HQ, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, Ramstein Air Base, Germany


  • Defense Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster
  • Meritorious Service Medal Joint Service Commendation Medal
  • Air Force Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters
  • Joint Service Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster
  • Air Force Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters
  • Air Force Good Conduct Medal with two oak leaf clusters
  • National defense Service Medal with one bronze star device
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Global War on Terrorism
  • Expeditionary Service Medal Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • Armed Forces Services Medal
  • Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster
  • NATO Medal (non-article 5 Balkans)


  • Second Lieutenant, July 2000
  • First Lieutenant, July 2002
  • Captain, July 2004
  • Major, June 2010
  • Lieutenant Colonel, October 2015 (Current as of May 2018)