Lieutenant Colonel David Hughes is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Sciences-Administration and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 2000. Following graduation from The Basic School and Air Traffic Control School in Pensacola, Second Lieutenant Hughes reported to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC under the Fleet Assistance Program, where he began training at the Air Traffic Control Facility.
After completing initial training at Cherry Point, Second Lieutenant Hughes returned to Marine Air Control Squadron 2 (MACS-2) to deploy with an air traffic control detachment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in 2002. He later completed the Marine Air Traffic Control Mobile Team (MMT) Instructor’s course at Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) and was selected as the MMT Leader for the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) where he deployed to Afghanistan. He returned to MACS-2, serving as assistant security manager and was promoted to Captain. In 2005, Captain Hughes was transferred to Okinawa, Japan.
Captain Hughes served one year with Marine Tactical Air Command Squadron 18 as Airspace Control Officer in the Tactical Air Command Center and as the squadron adjutant before transferring to MACS-4. While at MACS-4, Captain Hughes served as assistant operations officer and commanded Air Traffic Control Detachment A. During this time, he completed the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) and participated in exercises in the Philippines as the Marine Air Control Group 18 (MACG-18) Detachment Officer in Charge, and Australia with the initial fielding of the Air Traffic Navigation, Integration, and Coordination System (ATNAVICS).
In 2008, Captain Hughes began assignment with MAWTS-1. He spent three years as the Air Traffic Control Division Head and was selected and promoted to Major. Following assignment at MAWTS-1, Major Hughes was selected to attend resident Professional Military Education at the US Army Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, KS. During this time, Major Hughes earned a Master of Science in Public Administration from Central Michigan University. Following completion of Command and General Staff College, Major Hughes returned to Yuma for duty as the Operations Officer for MACS-1. During the following two years, he deployed with a Tactical Air Operations Center Detachment to Kuwait and with the MACG-38 (FWD) detachment as Executive Officer and Operations Officer in support of OEF. Upon returning from deployment, he assumed duties as the Executive Officer. In June of 2015, Major Hughes reported to Headquarters, Marine Corps Aviation for duty as the Air Traffic Control Occupational Field Sponsor within the Aviation Expeditionary Enablers Branch. In September of 2017, Major Hughes was promoted to his current grade of Lieutenant Colonel.
Lieutenant Colonel Hughes’ personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with Two Gold Stars), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon.