“For 24 years I made tough decisions while serving our nation and will bring that commitment to our state capital. The Air Force taught me to live by core values: integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. Values I intend to take to Springfield.”
After 24 years of active duty in the Air Force, Colonel Craig Wilcox retired on October 1, 2013 as Commander of the 89th Airlift Support Group at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, where he led his unit providing global command and control communications and aerial port services to the President of the United States and Air Force One. His unit also supported the Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and other senior national and military leaders and foreign heads of state.
Colonel Wilcox was born in El Paso, Texas, and was raised in Essex Junction, Vermont, where he graduated in 1985 from Air Force Junior ROTC Detachment 781 program, and the Essex Junction High School. He entered college at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on an Air Force scholarship and graduated with an Electrical Engineering degree in 1989, and was commissioned out of Air Force ROTC Detachment 550 as a 2nd LT.
He entered active duty as a Communications Officer and was selected to command on three separate occasions. His first command was the 52nd Combat Communications Squadron, shortly after 9/11, and his unit deployed frequently, establishing new airbases in Kyrgyzstan in 2002, to support the war in Afghanistan, and then in March, 2003 his unit established the first US Airbase in enemy territory in over 50 years, building Tallil Air Base in southern Iraq. That base was vital to allowing A-10 Thunderbolts to support ground troops during the march to Baghdad. Colonel Wilcox earned his first Bronze Star during this combat deployment. Colonel Wilcox returned to Iraq during the height of the insurgency and commanded the 332 Expeditionary Communications Squadron for a year from June 2006 to July 2007 at Balad Air Base. They supported F-16 Fighters, Predator Drones, and a large cargo pad resupplying the theater. Colonel Wilcox earned his second Bronze Star during this combat deployment, while Balad Air Base sustained almost daily mortar and rocket attacks, earning the nickname Mortaritaville.
After retirement Colonel Wilcox moved to McHenry, Illinois where you will find Craig, Janice and the kids volunteering or hosting at numerous veteran events, school activities, and local festivals. They were integral to assisting McHenrys’ Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive event, Honor Flight trips to Washington D.C., numerous Fields of Honor, the first Patriot 5K run, and many Veterans & Memorial Day events throughout the area. Craig has been a member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Elementary School Education Commission, and taught about Air Force One at McHenry County Colleges Retired Adult Program. Craig is currently an instructor and teaches Applied Ethical Leadership and Command with Air University.
Today Craig, Janice, Joey, Alissa & Briana can be seen all around town. Craig is Alissa and Briana's soccer coach for McHenry Area Soccer Federation. They are frequently seen at Firehouse Gym cheering on the gymnastics program and regularly volunteer at St. John the Baptist Catholic Elementary School and Church in Johnsburg. The family loves to frequent local golf courses and (tries) to golf as a family. They love to participate and attend local car shows throughout the county, especially Joey! Janice is a full time real estate broker, specializing in the needs of military members and the senior population. She is a dedicated Real Estate Advocate and leader fighting for and supporting the property rights of Illinois homeowners.