Lt Col Tucker Hamilton is the Director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force and Commander of the 461st Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California. He directs an integrated team of over 1,000 active duty, government civilians, and contractors in the planning, execution and reporting of F-35 Developmental Testing.
Lt Col Hamilton graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he majored in Aerospace Engineering. Upon graduating he was awarded the Thomas Jefferson Award, the university’s top honors for all around performance given to one senior from all campuses. Following undergraduate pilot training at Vance AFB, OK and F-15C training at Tyndall AFB, FL, Lt Col Hamilton served as an F-15C four-ship flight lead, Chief of Standardization and Evaluation, and Assistant Weapons Officer at Eglin AFB, FL. Following this assignment he became an Air Liaison Officer in Germany where he was the acting Director of Operations for a 54 member Air Support Operations Center squadron. During this assignment Lt Col Hamilton earned a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Tennessee where he worked on hypersonic weapons release considerations. While in Germany Lt Col Hamilton was picked as initial cadre to stand-up the first MC-12W Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance squadron in Afghanistan. He became the first flight commander and led 44 Airmen through initial stand-up, transforming an empty compound to being combat ready in two weeks. Additionally, he led a team that stood up the second squadron in Afghanistan and became the Chief MC-12 Instructor for Operation ENDURING FREEDOM where he was the tactical leader for over 200 aircrew and certified 78 aircrew on their first combat missions in theater. After graduating from USAF Test Pilot School he moved to Eglin AFB, FL, and served as an evaluator F-15C/E Test Pilot and Assistant Director of Operations for the 40th Flight Test Squadron. Lt Col Hamilton was the project pilot for eleven cutting edge programs, flew critical envelope expansion missions and validation missions for a variety of weapons including AIM-9X, AIM-120D, Python-5, and SDB-II. Additionally, Lt Col Hamilton became the Technical Director of the Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force where he oversaw a team of military, civilian, and contractors in planning, executing, and reporting all F-15 software upgrades. After this assignment Lt Col Hamilton served in the F-35 Joint Program Office as the Developmental Test Lead, managing all test flight operations for the US Air Force, Navy and Marines Corps. Before taking command Lt Col Hamilton was the 461st Director of Operations, leading daily and strategic operations of F-35 Developmental Test, managing a 1,500 flight hour, $80 million, flight test program while directing $1B in test assets. Lt Col Hamilton is a senior pilot with combat experience and more than 1,700 flying hours in the F-35A/B/C, F-15C/D/E, F-18, F-16, A-10, T-38A/C, T-34, and T-6. Lt Col Hamilton and his wife, Courtney, met during Air Force ROTC where she was his boss, and still is. They have four wonderful children, Olivia, Andrew, Beatrice, and August.