Lt Col Mary Yelnicker is currently serving as a National Defense Fellow assigned to the Stimson Center. Previously, she was the Commander, 532d Training Squadron, where she was responsible for approximately 400 non-prior service Airmen and officer trainees annually and a 120-instructor cadre providing mission-ready training for all intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) operators and maintainers and Air Launch Cruise Missile maintainers in the Air Force. In addition, the 532d Training Squadron is responsible for the military training curriculum for over 800 joint airmen and guardians annually.
Lt Col Yelnicker graduated with a degree in History from the University of California, Davis and received her commission from the Reserve Officer Training Corps at California State University, Sacramento. Having completed initial qualification training at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., she served as a Missile Combat Crew Commander, Instructor, and Flight Commander at Malmstrom AFB, Mont. Lt Col Yelnicker then taught at the 392d Training Squadron where she earned her Master Instructor rating. In 2011, she attended the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Weapons Instructor Course at the United States Air Force Weapons School at Nellis AFB, Nev. After graduation, Lt Col Yelnicker instructed at the 315th Weapons Squadron, culminating as the Assistant Director of Operations. She then attended Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Ala., where she was selected for the Multi-Domain Operational Strategist concentration. She then attended the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, also at Maxwell, AFB. In addition, she served in the Global Posture Branch and was the Deputy Executive Assistant to the Director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy, the Joint Staff, J-5.