Thunder Squadron Commander

LTC Brian J. Harthorn



Lieutenant Colonel Brian J. Harthorn, a native of Bakersfield, California, was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry in 1994 after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Following completion of the Infantry Officer Basic Course, Bradley Leaders Course, and Ranger School, Lt. Col.  Harthorn served as a Rifle Platoon Leader and Scout Platoon Leader in 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California.

            From 1998-1999, Lt. Col.  Harthorn was assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia, where he commanded A Company, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment (OSUT) prior to attending the Captains Career Course. In 2000, Lt. Col.  Harthorn was assigned to 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he served as a Brigade Assistant Operations Officer prior to commanding D Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment and deploying to Kosovo in support of KFOR peacekeeping operations. He subsequently served as the Aide-de-camp to the Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division and deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF I). Following redeployment in 2003, Lt. Col.  Harthorn was assigned to Operations Group at the National Training Center serving as an Infantry Company Team Trainer and then as the Deputy Chief of Operations.


            Following attendance at the Command and General Staff College in 2006, Lt. Col.  Harthorn returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he served as a Battalion Operations Officer and Battalion Executive Officer for 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment deploying to Iraq during 2007-2008 in support of OIF. From 2009-2010, he was assigned as Brigade Executive Officer for the newly activated 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas. In 2011, Lt. Col.  Harthorn deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, serving as the Military Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff-Operations, International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF), in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). In 2012, he deployed to Ghazni, Afghanistan, returning to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, to serve as the Brigade’s Deputy Commanding Officer and Chief of Staff in continued support of OEF.

            Lt. Col.  Harthorn is a graduate of Airborne School, Air Assault School, the Scout Platoon Leaders Course, Jumpmaster School, the Joint Firepower Control Course, and he holds a Master of Arts degree in Management from Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri.


            His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (2 OLC), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (4 OLC), Army Commendation Medal (3 OLC), Army Achievement Medal (2 OLC), Air Force Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (x2), Iraq Campaign Medal (x2), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NATO Medal, Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, and the Ranger Tab.