Col. Eric L. Bratu is the Vice Wing Commander, 186th Air Refueling Wing, Key Field Air National Guard Base, Meridian, Mississippi. The 186th Air Refueling Wing provides over 1,100 personnel and eight KC-135R aircraft to Air Mobility Command for worldwide operations. The Wing also supports domestic counter-drug and emergency response missions as well as overseas combatant commander requirements with an RC-26B aircraft. Additional units include the 238th Air Support Operations Squadron which serves as a combat force multiplier to U.S. Army counterparts, the 248th Air Traffic Control Squadron which is capable of providing air traffic control services for commercial, military and general aviation aircraft operating out of any airfield worldwide, and the 186th Air Operations Group which supports the Continental United States North American Aerospace Defense Region, First Air Force and Air Forces Northern, CONR–1AF (AFNORTH). The Group provides Air Force staff augmentation, supports the Homeland Defense Mission, and delivers Defense Support to Civil Authorities during domestic events.


Col. Bratu commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Mississippi State University in May 1998 where he served as the Corps Commander and was a Distinguished Military Graduate. He has completed several command and staff tours to include Company Commander, Assistant Brigade Engineer, Battalion S3 and Battalion S4 in the Mississippi Army National Guard as well Mission Support Group Commander in the Mississippi Air National Guard.  The colonel served as operations officer of the 384th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron from March 2002 until June 2002 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.  In September 2011, he deployed to Al Asad Air Base, Iraq as the Chief of Support for the 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force/Air Component Coordination Element – Iraq to coordinate the redeployment and reposturing of Air Force forces from Iraq during Operation NEW DAWN. 


Prior to his current position, Col. Bratu served as Director of Staff-Air for the Mississippi Air National Guard, Jackson, Mississippi.  While there, he planned and formulated executive support functions for the Adjutant General and Assistant Adjutant General-Air.  The colonel directed and implemented the policies of senior USAF, ANG, and State leadership while providing oversight of support for the 2,600 airmen assigned to two flying Wings and a Combat Readiness Training Center. 



1989       Bachelor of Science Degree, Mechanical Engineering, Mississippi State University, Starkville

1990       Master of Science Degree, Engineering, Mississippi State University, Starkville        

1990       U.S. Army Engineer Officer Basic Course, Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo.

1996       U.S. Army Engineer Officer Advance Course, Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo. (non-resident)                                                

1999       U.S. Army Combined Arms and Services Staff School, Ft. Leavenworth, Kan. (non-resident)     

2005       Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., by correspondence

2008       Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence                                                                           



1.             May 1988 - September 1989, U.S. Army Reserve Control Group, St. Louis, Mo.

2.             September 1989 - November 1990, Platoon Leader, Company C, 890th Engineer Battalion, Columbia, Miss.

3.             November 1990 - February 1991, Construction Officer, HSC, 890th Engineer Bn, Gulfport, Miss.

4.             February 1991 - January 1992, Platoon Leader, Company B, 890th Engineer Bn, Pascagoula, Miss.           

5.             January 1992 - November 1992, Bioenvironmental Engineer, 186th Air Refueling Group, Key Field ANGB, Miss.

6.             November 1992 - September 1994, Platoon Leader/Detachment Commander, 134th Engineer Company, Union, Miss.

7.             September 1994 - March 1995, Assistant Brigade Engineer, HHC, 150th Engineer Bn, Meridian, Miss.        

8.             March 1995 - December 1997, Commander, Company C, 150th Engineer Bn, Houston, Miss.                      

9.             December 1997 - March 1999, S4, HHC, 150th Engineer Bn, Meridian, Miss.

10.           March 1999 - November 1999, Assistant Brigade Engineer, HHC, 150th Engineer Bn, Meridian, Miss.         

11.           November 1999 - May 2000, S3, HHC, 150th Engineer Bn, Meridian, Miss.         

12.           May 2000 – December 2005, Operations Officer, 186th Civil Engineer Squadron, Key Field ANGB, Miss. (February 2002 – June 2002, Engineer Readiness Officer, 384th Air Expeditionary Group (Provisional), Southwest Asia)    

13.           December 2005 – July 2010, Vice Commander, 186th Mission Support Group, Key Field ANGB, Miss.

14.          July 2010 – February 2014, Commander, 186th MSG, Key Field ANGB, Miss. (August 2011 – December 2011, Director, 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Iraq, Al Asad AB, Iraq)

15.           February 2014 – August 2015, Vice Commander, 186th Air Refueling Wing, Key Field ANGB, Miss.

16.           September 2015 – April 2017, Director of Staff-Air, Mississippi Air National Guard, Joint Force Headquarters, Jackson, Miss.

17.           April 2017 – Present, Vice Commander, 186th ARW, Key Field ANGB, Miss.       



Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters 

Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster 

Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster  

Air Force Achievement Medal  

Army Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster 

Meritorious Unit Award 

Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 

Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters 

National Defense Service Medal with service star

Iraq Campaign Medal with service star

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal 

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal 

Armed Forces Service Medal 

Humanitarian Service Medal 

Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal with oak leaf cluster  

Air Force Overseas Ribbon Short

Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border with oak leaf cluster 

Air Force Longevity Medal with five oak leaf clusters

Armed Forces Reserve Medal with two ‘M’ devices and silver hourglass

Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon with one service star

Army Service Ribbon

Air Assault Badge



Mississippi Magnolia Cross

Mississippi Magnolia Medal 

Mississippi War Medal with service star

Mississippi Emergency Service Medal with oak leaf cluster

Mississippi Service School Medal

Mississippi Longevity Medal with four oak leaf clusters



National Guard Association of the United States (Lifetime Member)

National Guard Association of Mississippi (ANG Director, 2014-2016)



Second Lieutenant May 13, 1988

First Lieutenant May 24, 1991

Captain May 10, 1995

Major March 1, 2000

Lieutenant Colonel August 30, 2006

Colonel August 16, 2010


(Current as of March 2018)