Commanding Officer, Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 3
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas E. Bolen, Jr.

Lieutenant Colonel Bolen was born in Ironwood, MI, and grew up in Esko, MN, graduating from Esko High School in 1998. He attended college at the University of Minnesota, graduating in 2002 with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Computer Science and receiving his commission through the Reserve Officer Training Corps. Upon completion of The Basic School at Quantico, VA, he was assigned to flight training at NAS Pensacola, FL.

After primary flight training with VT-3 in the T-34 at NAS Whiting Field, FL, 2ndLt Bolen reported to VT-9 at NAS Meridian, MS for intermediate and advanced flight training in the T-45.  He was designated a Naval Aviator on 15 November 2005. He reported to VFA-125 at NAS Lemoore, CA in January 2006 for conversion training to the F/A-18 Hornet.

1stLt Bolen reported to MAG-31 in Beaufort, SC in January 2007 and was assigned to the VMFA-251 “Thunderbolts,” where he was promoted to Captain and served as Schedules Officer, Logistics/Information Systems Officer, Quality Assurance Officer, Pilot Training Officer, and Squadron Landing Signals Officer.  Captain Bolen attended and graduated from the Navy Fighter Weapons School in the fall of 2009.  While with the Thunderbolts, he completed three deployments; two onboard the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) in 2007 and 2011, and one as an Individual Augment with 2D MAW(Fwd) to Al Asad, Iraq in 2008, serving as the Fixed Wing Tasker. 

Captain Bolen reported to the MWSS 273 “Sweathogs” in August 2011 where he served as the Airfield Operations Company Commander.  During his tour, he deployed to Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, in 2012 and was responsible for executing the aircraft fueling, expeditionary airfield, and aircraft rescue and firefighting missions.

In February 2013, Captain Bolen augmented the VMFA-251 Thunderbolts as the Assistant Operations Officer/Pilot Training Officer, completing a detachment to Twentynine Palms, CA in support of Integrated Training Exercise 2-13.  In July 2013, Captain Bolen reported to Air Command and Staff College located at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, AL, for his intermediate level professional military education.  While there, he was promoted to Major and graduated with academic distinction.

In July 2014, Major Bolen reported to MAG-31 and again joined the VMFA-251 “Thunderbolts”.  He served as the Director of Safety and Standardization, Aircraft Maintenance Officer, Operations Officer and completed a deployment aboard USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71) in 2015.  In October 2016, Major Bolen was assigned to the VMFA-312 “Checkerboards” where he served as the Executive Officer and again completed a deployment aboard USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT in May 2018. 

In July 2018, Major Bolen reported to HQMC Aviation, where he served as the F/A-18 Hornet Life Cycle Program Manager / Tactical Aircraft Integration (TAI) / Training and Exercise Employment Plan (TEEP) action officer, and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in September 2020.  Lieutenant Colonel Bolen reported to Marine Aircraft Wing Headquarters Squadron 3 in March 2021.   

Major Bolen’s personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal Strike/Flight award with numeral “4”, Navy Commendation Medal with gold star in lieu of fourth award, and the Navy Achievement Medal with gold star in lieu of second award.