Colonel Kelly Sams is Deputy Commander, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, Air Force Materiel Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The center serves as an intermediate-level headquarters responsible for providing installation and mission support capabilities to 77 Air Force and Space Force installations, nine major commands and two direct reporting units with an annual budget of approximately $10 billion. One of six centers assigned to AFMC, the unit's cross-functional team integrates security forces, civil engineering, base communications, logistics readiness, installation ministry programs, public affairs, services, operational acquisition and financial management across 10 detachments and four primary subordinate units. Those units are the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, Air Force Installation Contracting Center, Air Force Security Forces Center and Air Force Services Center.
The colonel earned her commission in 1997 from the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Program at the University of Central Florida. She is a two time squadron commander, commanding forward deployed and in garrison. She has served in a variety of positions within the force support career field in addition to special duty positions including Chief of Wing Protocol (deployed), major command protocol, and as a Squadron Officer School instructor. As a senior staff officer, Colonel Sams served as the Deputy Chief and then Director, A1 Action Group acting as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services liaison to Air Staff Secretariat, Chief of Staff, Air Staff DCSs, and external agencies. Of note, during her time as Squadron Commander of the 673rd Force Support Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, her unit earned the LeMay Trophy identifying it as the best large force support squadron in the Air Force. Colonel Sams is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and completed an Air Force Fellowship with the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California.
Prior to her current assignment, Colonel Sams commanded Cadet Group 2, Commandant of Cadets, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she was responsible for motivating, training and developing 10 squadrons comprised of nearly 1,100 cadets into officers of character culminating in an undergraduate degree and a commission into the U.S. Air and Space Forces.
1997 Bachelor’s Degree, Psychology, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla.
2002 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2008 Master’s Degree, Education, Trident University International, Cypress, Calif.
2009 U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
2015 Air War College, Correspondence (Excellent Graduate)
2017 Air Force Fellow, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, Calif.
2021 Enterprise Leadership Seminar, Kenan-Flagler School of Business, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
1. June 1997 - June 1998, Chief, Customer Support & Chief, Relocations, 3rd Mission Support Squadron, 3rd Wing, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska
2. June 1998 - May 1999, Executive Officer, 3rd MSS, 3rd Wing, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska
3. May 1999 - June 2000, Squadron Section Commander, 90th Fighter Squadron, 3rd Wing, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska
4. June 2000 - August 2002, Squadron Section Commander, 37th Airlift Squadron, 86th Airlift Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
5. August 2002 - June 2003, Command Protocol Officer, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Ramstein AB, Germany
6. June 2003 - April 2005, Flight Commander then School Operations Officer, Squadron Officer School, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
7. April 2005 - September 2005, Chief, Wing Protocol, 332rd Air Expeditionary Wing, Balad AB, Iraq
8. September 2005 - June 2006, Deputy Director, Mission Support, Squadron Officer College, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
9. June 2006 - June 2008, Military Personnel Flight Commander, 55th Mission Support Squadron, 55th Wing, Offutt AFB, Neb.
10. June 2008 - June 2009, Student, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
11. June 2009 - February 2010, Chief, General Officer Sustainment, Air Force General Officer Management Office, Headquarters Air Force A1, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
12. February 2010 - June 2011, deputy chief, A1 Action Group, HQ AF/A1, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
13. June 2011 - June 2012, Commander, 380th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, Al Dhafra AB, Southwest Asia
14. August 2012 – May 2014, Commander, 673rd Force Support Squadron, 673rd Mission Support Group, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska
15. May 2014 – June 2016, Chief of Operations, Selection Board Secretariat, Air Force Personnel Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas
16. July 2016 – July 2017, Air Force Fellow, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, Calif.
17. July 2017 – June 2018, Director, A1 Action Group, Headquarters Air Force A1, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
18. June 2018 – December 2019, Senior Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
19. December 2019 – June 2020, Senior Military Assistant to the Under Secretary of the Air Force, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
20. June 2020 – June 2022, Commander, Cadet Group 2, Commandant of Cadets, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
21. June 2022 – present, Deputy Commander, Air Force Installation Mission Support Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant May 4, 1997
First Lieutenant May 28, 1999
Captain June 28, 2001
Major Feb. 1, 2007
Lieutenant Colonel May 1, 2012
Colonel Oct. 1, 2018
(Current as of July 2023)