Lt. General James Hecker is now in charge at Maxwell Air Force Base’s Air University (AU), but he was once an AU student. During his time there in 2006 to 2007, he learned more than AU’s curriculum. He and his family also learned to love the capital city, and they’re now honored to be back.
Where are you originally from? I was born and raised in California.
How long have you been in the Air Force? I commissioned in the Air Force in 1989 after graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy.
How long have you been Commander and President of Air University? I took command of Air University in November 2019.
What is the role of Air University in the Air Force? Air University’s mission is to “Educate and develop Air, Space, and Cyberspace warrior leaders ISO the National Defense Strategy.” We manage officer, enlisted and civilian professional continuing education, as well as the primary, intermediate and senior developmental education throughout their careers. Air University has the unique advantage of recurring visits from a diverse cross-section of Airmen and serves as the service’s premier intellectual and leadership-development center.
How many airmen attend Air University each year? Air University has approximately 50,000 in-residence students per year, spread among schools and centers. Additionally, Air University offers distance learning courses to approximately 120,000 non-resident students and confers more than 22,000 degrees annually.
What are your duties as President of Air University? My vision for the Air University is to serve as the intellectual and leadership-development center of the Air and Space Forces, and to meet this vision, I provide direction and priorities to the Air University staff as well as the school commanders and commandants within my organization. I am committed to providing quality full-spectrum education, research and outreach at every level through professional military education, professional
continuing education and academic degree granting. I have a responsibility to ensure we’re delivering the best education and training to equip our most valuable resource, our people.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your work? I am most rewarded by the caliber of the workforce. I enjoy working with all the great Airmen, civilians and contractors along with our joint partners.
What are your interests and hobbies outside of work? I enjoy hunting, fishing, camping, sports and working out. Also, on November 3, my wife, Terrie, and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Both my sons attended the University of Alabama, the oldest graduated there. The youngest transferred to the University of Northern Alabama his junior year and graduated in 2019. Roll Tide!
Beyond Base Borders Air University continues the proud tradition of educating tomorrow’s planners and leaders in air and space power for the Air Force, other branches of the U.S. armed forces, federal government civilians and many international organizations. AU’s current worldwide reach enriches the careers of every Air Force member.