2024 Gala Honoree – David W. Francis

David W. Francis

Lieutenant Colonel David W. Francis, USAF (Ret.), dedicated 42 years to military and government service. A distinguished graduate of the US Air Force Academy, he served as a fighter pilot with over 3,600 hours in the A-10, F-4D/E, F-117A, and T-33 aircraft.
Lt Col Francis played a pivotal role in the F-117A Stealth Fighter program, earning distinctions like winning the inaugural F-117 “Camel Shoot” competition. During Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, he flew 20 combat missions, contributing to critical strikes on Baghdad targets.
Post-military retirement, he briefly entered the airline industry but returned to government service. He spent 4 years on active duty in Air Force Plans and Programs, followed by 7 years in Air Force Test & Evaluation, reaching the position of T&E Special Programs Branch Chief. Lt Col Francis concluded his career as the Director of the Special Access Program Central Office, overseeing SAP governance, security, resources, and legislative engagement.
His remarkable military career earned him decorations such as the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with oak leaf clusters, and Aerial Achievement Medal with oak leaf clusters. In the civilian realm, he received the Air Force Award for Meritorious Civilian Service and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Civilian Career Service. Lt Col Francis holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the Air Force Academy and a Master of Public Administration degree from Auburn University.