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Honoring Our Heroes

Col Stefan Eisen Jr.: Age 69

Col Stefan Eisen Jr. served 30 years in the U.S. Air Force. His Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) included: (1) Fighter/Instructor Pilot (Other) for fifteen years, (2) Academic Instructor at Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College and Air War College for five years, (3) Support Commander for eight years and (4) Commander: Pilot Training for two years. His distinguished service included his being awarded the following medals, citations, badges and ribbons: Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Air Force Training Ribbon, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Humanitarian Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award with one Silver Oak Leaf Cluster and one Oak Leaf Cluster, National Defense Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with one Silver Oak Leaf Cluster and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.

Col Eisen was born June 19,1954 in Montreal, Canada, to his parents, Stefan and Gertrude Eisen. He was reared for seven years there, and then he was reared in Danielson, CT, where he graduated from Killingly High School in 1972. As a youth, he always wanted to fly, and often he flew gliders with his father. He obtained his glider pilot's license before his obtained his automobile driver's license. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1976 and entered the U.S. Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant on June 2, 1976. Later, using the G.I. Bill, he received a Master of Systems Management from St. Mary's University in 1985 and a Doctorate of Public Administration from the University of Alabama in 2003.

Col Stefan's military career encompassed 11 different assignments with increasing leadership responsibility with each new duty station. His first assignment was at Columbus AFB, MS, for one year where he underwent Air Force Pilot Training in the T-37 and the T-38. He then served four years from 1978-1982, at Sheppard AFB, TX, where he served as a T-38 Instructor Pilot (IP) and Flight Evaluator (FE) with three different programs: the Fixed Wing Conversion program, the German Air Force pilot training program finally serving as the initial cadre to stand-up the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) program. Next, he was sent to the Pentagon where he served as an Air Staff Training (ASTRA) officer for a one year internship from 1982-1983. He then served at Randolph AFB, TX, where he was a T-38 instructor upgrade IP and Flight Commander for two years. He remained there and served as a HQ Air Training Command T-38 Stan/Eval Pilot and FE for two more years. His next assignment was at Maxwell AFB, AL, first as a student at the Air Command and Staff and then as a faculty member for 1.5 years. He then was transferred to the Squadron Officers School to serve as the 38th Student Squadron Commander for two years. He returned to serve at Columbus AFB, MS, for three years during 1991-1994, where he first served as the 50th Flying Training Squadron (T-38) Operations Officer and then as the 37th Flying Training Squadron (T-37) Squadron Commander.

During 1994-1995, Col Eisen attended and graduated from the U.S. Naval War College, Newport, R.I. with a Master's Degree in Strategic Studies. He returned to serve at Maxwell AFB, AL, as a member of the Air War College faculty from 1996-1997. He remained at Maxwell AFB and became the first Commandant of the Air and Space Basic Course School where he served for 1.5 years. He was then transferred to Lackland AFB, TX. From 1998-2000, he served as the Basic Military Training Commander. He then returned again to Maxwell AFB, AL, where he first served as the Commander of Air Force ROTC from 2000-2002. His final assignment was the Air War College's Dean of Faculty and Academics from 2003-2006. Col Eisen retired from military service on June 30, 2006.

Col Eisen and his wife, Catherine, were married 40 years until she passed away in 2018. He and his wife, Mary Kay, have been married three years. Since his military retirement, he served as the founder and the Director of the Air Force Negotiation Center from 2006-2018 at Maxwell AFB. His real joy now is accompanying his daughter Johnanna, who is autistic as they volunteer at the Maxwell AFB Thrift Shop, the AL Library for the Blind and the Montgomery Humane Society. Johanna is also active in tennis through the Dream Court adaptive tennis program. Johanna enjoys softball with the Montgomery Miracle League where Stefan serves as a pitcher. Johanna rounds out her athletic interests by riding horseback with MANE, an adaptive equestrian program. When not being Johanna's buddy, Col Eisen serves on the Board of Visitors at the University of Alabama's Office of Teaching Innovation and Digital Education (OTIDE). He also serves as the Public Affairs Officer for the Air Force Association's Montgomery Chapter 102, and he is a life member of the Military Officers Association of America. He continues to work part time as a professor of research for the Air University's On-Line Master's Program (OLMP). He is often found in his or a friend's garage working on one of his three Corvettes either getting them ready for a charity car show or driving at a regional track. He also serves as the secretary for the Capital City Corvette Club.

Col Eisen's reflections and conclusions about his military service are, "I loved the people with whom I worked. I still keep in close touch with friends from my Air Force Academy as well as active duty days. I was lucky with the things that I got to do." He would like to be remembered as a good friend and that he always tried to do his best.


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