Lt Gen Thomas “Tom” Trask, USAF (ret.)
Lt Gen Trask transitioned from the US Air Force in 2017 after 33 years of service, retiring as the Vice Commander of United States Special Operations Command. As the Vice Commander serving USSOCOM in the Pentagon, and as the Director of Resources, Programming and Assessments before that, he was responsible for the oversight and management of the USSOCOM $12B annual budget for six years. He was responsible for the requirements process which ensured that our deployed Special Operations Forces on the battlefield had exactly the tools that they needed when they needed them. He was also responsible for the USSOCOM legislative affairs working with members and congressional staffers to ensure a sustained level of funding for Special Operations Forces.
Lt Gen Trask entered the Air Force in 1984 as an Air Force ROTC graduate from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He went on to fly Rescue and Special Operations helicopters accumulating more than 3200 hours and over 50 combat missions during operations in Operation Just Cause in Panama, Operation Desert Storm in Kuwait, and numerous operations in the Balkans, Bosnia and Kosovo. Tom commanded at every level and his commands included the 20th Special Operations Squadron, the 347th Rescue Operations Group, the 58th Special Operations Wing, the Air University Squadron Officer College, and the Air Force Special Operations Command 23rd Air Force. He has extensive experience in combined and joint planning, operations, programming and financial management, serving on the Joint Staff, HQ US Central Command, HQ US Special Operations Command, and HQ NATO AIRSOUTH.
His flying career included qualification as an Instructor Pilot in the UH-1N, Aircraft Commander in the MH-60, and Instructor and Evaluator Pilot in the MH-53. He flew numerous missions supporting Special Operations Forces in South and Central America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. He was credited with 17 lives saved to include the rescue of an F-14 pilot during Desert Storm that earned him and his crew the Mackay Trophy awarded by the Smithsonian Institution as the most meritorious flight of the year for 1991. As a commander, Lt. Gen. Trask also flew a variety of special operations aircraft to include the CV-22, MI-17, Dash-8, PC-12, U-28, MC/HC-130, and CASA-212
Lt Gen Trask earned a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Embry-Riddle in Prescott AZ, and three master’s degrees in the political science arena from Troy State University in Troy AL, the Naval War College in Newport RI, and Air University School of Advanced Airpower Studies (SAAS) in Montgomery AL. He is a Ancien of Class 98 from the NATO Defense College in Rome Italy. He has also completed the Leadership Development Program at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro NC, the Enterprise Leadership Seminar at the Kenan-Flagler Business School in Raleigh NC, and the Leadership for a Democratic Society at the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville VA.
Lt Gen Trask established and is President of SO&A Consulting LLC in the Washington DC area, providing full service consulting focused on defense industry strategy, Capitol Hill engagement, leading and managing large organizations. He is also a Senior Fellow with the Center of Naval Analysis, and serves on various boards for CAE Mission Solutions Inc., FLIR Systems Inc, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott Arizona, and the Global Special Operations Forces Foundation.