Maj. Kenneth N. Bourque, a 15-year active duty Air Force veteran who helped train Afghanistan’s national army and police for transition to its elected government, is the new commander of Fresno State’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 35.

Bourque, who is scheduled to be promoted to lieutenant colonel on Aug. 1, began his new assignment June 21. He replaced Lt. Col. Matthew R. Buehler, who retired.

Bourque will also serve as chair of the Department of Aerospace Studies in the Craig School of Business, Dean Robert Harper announced. Commander appointments are usually two- to three-year deployments.

This is the first ROTC assignment for Bourque, a career cyberspace operations officer who has served at the squadron, group and Numbered Air Force levels along with staff tours at Air Mobility Command and the United States Strategic Command.

He said a command assignment is “an honor and privilege that often culminates the careers of many active duty officers” but he plans to continue to serve alongside newly commissioned Air Force officers from Detachment 35.

“I’m especially honored for this assignment to Fresno State, which has a remarkable legacy of hosting ROTC programs dating back to the early days of the Air Force and is one of the few universities, if not the only one, to do so continuously the past 65-plus years,” Bourque said. “It is a privilege to continue Fresno State’s tradition of preparing Air Force officers to serve our nation.”

The Fresno State detachment was founded in 1948 — just one year after the Air Force became an official branch of the U.S. military — and is one of the nation’s oldest units. It is also one of the top-achieving units, winning the prestigious Right of Line Award for Best Detachment in the Nation in both the small- and medium-size category several times.  .

Prior to assuming command of Detachment 35 and the 72 cadets enrolled for the fall semester, Bourque served as the director of operations for the 608th Air Communications Squadron providing Air Operations Center command and control capabilities for the B-2 and B-52 bombers in support of Air Force Global Strike Command at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

Among his many deployments, he served in Afghanistan from 2007-2008 as well as Qatar and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In Afghanistan, he served as deputy chief of the Directors Action Group, assigned to the Directorate of Communications, Air Mobility Command.

Bourque earned two bachelor’s degrees from Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont and a graduate degree from Webster University in St Louis. He was commissioned through the Air Force ROTC program in 1999 and is currently enrolled in the Air War College distance learning program.

(University Communications news assistant Akyia Westley contributed to this report.)

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