Colonel Charles “C.B.” Cain is a distinguished graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. Following the Academy, he attended the University of Washington where he received a Master of Science degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics.  A distinguished graduate from USAF pilot training, Col Cain flew C-17A combat missions in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.  He is an alumnus of the USAF Intern Program where he worked in SAF/AQ and OSD(I). He went on to serve on the Air Staff in the Global Mobility Requirements branch. From there, he attended the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, California.


Col Cain is an Experimental Test Pilot and has led multiple developmental test programs in the C-17A, C-130H and C-130J. He served as Squadron Commander of the 418th Flight Test Squadron and Director of the Global Reach Combined Test Force, the military, civilian and contractor test team executing flight test programs for the US Air Force, NASA, the Missile Defense Agency and other customers in C-5, C‑17, C-130, KC-10, KC-135 and KC-46 aircraft. He has served on the Joint Staff at the National Military Command Center and in the Air Force Research Laboratory.  He is now the Commander of the 704th Test Group at Holloman AFB, NM, part of the Arnold Engineering Development Complex and the Air Force Test Center. 




1999 Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering, USAF Academy, CO

2001 Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

2002 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, AL

2008 Intermediate Development Education, AF Intern Program, Pentagon, Washington D.C.

2009 Master of Science in Flight Test Engineering, USAF Test Pilot School, Edwards AFB, CA

2016 Master of Strategic Studies, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA



  1. June 1999 – July 2001, Graduate Student, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

  2. July 2001 – January 2003, Student, Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Columbus AFB, MS

  3. April 2003 – July 2006, C-17A Aircraft Commander, 16th Airlift Squadron, Charleston AFB, SC

  4. July 2006 – June 2007, Air Force Intern, SAF/AQ, OSD(I), Pentagon, Washington D.C.

  5. June 2007– Mar 2008, Deputy, Intratheater Airlift and Tanker Requirements Branches, AF/A5RM, Pentagon, Washington D.C.

  6. July 2008 – June 2009, Student, United States Air Force Test Pilot School, Edwards AFB, CA

  7. June 2009 – August 2011, C-17 and C-130 Experimental Test Pilot, Assistant Director of Operations, 418th Flight Test Squadron, Edwards AFB, CA

  8. August 2011 – November 2012, Director of Operations, 418th Flight Test Squadron, Edwards AFB, CA

  9. November 2012 – June 2014, Commander, 418th Flight Test Squadron, Edwards AFB, CA 

  10. July 2014 – July 2016, Assistant Deputy Director for Operations, J-33, NMCC, Joint Staff, Pentagon, Washington D.C.

  11. July 2016 – June 2017, Student, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA

  12. June 2017 – June 2018, Chief, Warfighter Readiness Research Division, 711 HPW, Wright Patterson AFB, OH

  13. July 2018 – Present, Commander, 704th Test Group, Holloman AFB, NM



Defense Meritorious Service Medal

Meritorious Service Medal (two oak leaf clusters)

Air Medal (two oak leaf clusters)

Aerial Achievement Medal (one oak leaf cluster)

Joint Service Commendation Medal

Air Force Commendation Medal (one oak leaf cluster)

Joint Service Achievement Medal

Air Force Achievement Medal (two oak leaf clusters)

Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor (two oak leaf clusters)




Rating:     Senior Pilot, Evaluator Aircraft Commander

Flight Hours:     Over 2,200 

Combat Hours:     Over 450

Aircraft flown:     C-17A, C-130H/J and 25+ other US and Foreign military/civilian aircraft


Distinguished Graduate, USAF Academy (1999)

Outstanding Graduate in Aeronautical Engineering, USAF Academy (1999)

AETC Commander's Trophy, Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (2002)

Distinguished Graduate, Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (2002)

Distinguished Graduate, C-17A Co-pilot Initial Qualification Training (2003)

Secretary of the Air Force Leadership Award for top graduate, Squadron Officer School (2005)

Distinguished Graduate, C-17A Aircraft Commander Upgrade Training (2005)

Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition Team of the Year (2006)

Distinguished Graduate, USAF Test Pilot School (2009)

Liethen-Tittle Award for top test pilot graduate, USAF Test Pilot School (2009)

Asia Society Asia 21 Young Leader, Summit Delegate (2010)

U.S. Japan Leadership Program Fellow (2012, 2013)

Distinguished Graduate, U.S. Army War College (2017)

U.S. Army War College Commandant’s Award for Distinction in Research (2017)




Second Lieutenant      2 June, 1999

First Lieutenant           2 June, 2001

Captain                        2 June, 2003

Major                           1 November, 2008

Lieutenant Colonel     1 November, 2012

Colonel                        1 May, 2018