COL Gardner was commissioned in May 1993 through the Reserved Officer Training Corps at the distinguished Detachment 015, Tuskegee University, home of the Tuskegee Airmen. His outstanding career includes assignments in a variety of space operations and staff positions, including ICBM operations, missile warning, space surveillance, satellite command and control, Space Weapons Officer at Headquarters Joint Task Force Southwest Asia (JTF-SWA) as Chief of Space Operations, Branch Chief for Space Superiority Programming, and serving as a deployed squadron commander in Afghanistan.
Colonel Gardner’s recent assignment highlights include: Chief, Space Control Division, Headquarters Air Force; Commander, 76th Space Control Squadron at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado; and Commander, 1st Expeditionary Space Control Squadron. He is a graduate of the highly selective School of Advanced Air and Space Studies (SAASS), a Weapons School graduate, and a Distinguished Graduate from Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) at Maxwell AFB, AL.
Prior to his assignment at Maxwell, COL Gardner was Chief, Strategy Development Team and Deputy Chief, Strategy Division, Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC), 14th Air Force, Vandenberg AFB, CA, where he led the development of the space support plan for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM - the first of its kind. In the months following September 11th, 2001, COL Gardner completed the United States Air Force Weapons School and immediately deployed to Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia. There, he developed and implemented a theater-wide ballistic missile early warning system that protected over 16,000 coalition personnel. COL Gardner has directly supported several major military operations including Operation SOUTHERN WATCH, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. He has deployed twice – most recently to Bagram AB, Afghanistan, where he commanded an expeditionary squadron.