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Leadership

As commander, Col. Bart Van Roo is responsible for nearly 1,200 active-guard and traditional forces that support the President of the United States and the Governor of Wisconsin. With a premier fighter and mission support force made up of superior and reliable personnel, the 115th is able to successfully support community, state, and federal missions. Col. Van Roo attended the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater and University of Wisconsin-Madison and received his commission through the Academy of Military Science in April 1999. Col. Van Roo began his military career in 1992 when he enlisted at the 115th Fighter Wing, Madison, Wisconsin as an Aeromedical Specialist. He served as a Non Commissioned Officer until 1998. In 2000, he graduated from specialized undergraduate pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. He then went on to complete the F-16 Training Course, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. Col. Van Roo returned to the 115th Fighter Wing where he held numerous positions within operations, including as an F-16 pilot in support of Operation Noble Eagle as an Aerospace Control Pilot, and served at the 176th Fighter Squadron Director of Operations. In 2017, Col. Van Roo was appointed the 176th Fighter Squadron Commander, and was deployed to the Korean Peninsula with the 8th Fighter Wing as the 176th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron Commander. He then served as the 115th Fighter Wing Inspector General. Prior to his current position, Col. Van Roo was the Director of Operations, Wisconsin Air National Guard, Joint Force Headquarters, Madison, Wis. In addition, the colonel was the Northern Lightning Exercise director at the Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center.
As the vice commander, Col. Charles C Merkel assists the commander in ensuring that mission objectives, policies, and operational directives are effectively executed within the wing. The 115th Fighter Wing operates the F-16 Fighting Falcon as its primary weapons system, and is home to over 1,100 personnel authorized in direct support of this global mission. Col. Merkel is from Milwaukee and graduated from Marquette University in 1994 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He commissioned into the Marine Corps through the Platoon Leaders Course program in 1994 and attended Naval Flight School, earning his wings in July, 1997. Colonel Merkel flew the F/A-18 Hornet and was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, Calif. He deployed on the USS Stennis aircraft carrier to Iraq in 2000 and to Afghanistan in 2002. He was then assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron in Yuma, Ariz., and served as a weapons school instructor pilot from 2002 to 2005. In 2006 he transferred to the Marine Corps Reserves where he flew the F-5 as an adversary pilot. In May 2009, Colonel Merkel transferred to the Wisconsin Air National Guard and joined the 115th Fighter Wing. He completed an F-16 transition course at Luke Air Force Base. As an F-16 pilot, he has deployed with the 115th Fighter Wing to Keflavik, Iceland; Djibouti, Africa; Kadena Air Base, Okinawa; Lask Air Base, Poland; and Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. He served as the Aerospace Control Alert (ACA) Commander from 2011 to 2013, and Operations Support Squadron (OSS) Commander from 2013 to 2018. In February 2018 he stood up the F-35 Unit Conversion Office for the 115th Fighter Wing in preparation for the wing’s conversion from the F-16 to the F-35. He assumed his current role of Vice Commander in Dec 2020. Colonel Merkel is a command pilot with over 3500 flight hours in the F-16C/D, F/A-18C, F-5, TA-4J, T-2C, and T-34C
As the command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Brian K.Carroll’s mission is to advocate on behalf of the enlisted force to ensure issues with their readiness, professional development, training, and quality of life are addressed. Chief Carroll enlisted in the active duty Air Force in 1984 and served four years as an F-4 Phantom crew chief while stationed at George Air Force Base, Calif. In 1990, he enlisted in the Wisconsin Air National Guard and joined the 115th Fighter Wing at Truax Field – switching airframes to become an A-10 crew chief. Chief Carroll moved on to his third airframe in 1992 when the F-16 Fighting Falcon came to Madison, Wis. Before assuming his current position, Chief Carroll served in many capacities, to include aircraft maintainer, flight leader, and crew chief supervisor. Prior to his current position, Chief Carroll was the superintendent of the 115th Fuels Management Flight, 115th FW, Truax Field, Madison, Wis.

Located on Truax Field in
Madison, Wisconsin,
the 115th provides invaluable
Homeland Defense
to the Midwest region
with a premier fighter
and mission support force.

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