Uhl promoted to Colonel

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Tylon Chapman
  • 185th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Lt. Col. Benjamin Uhl was promoted to the rank of colonel during a formal ceremony at the 185th Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City, Iowa during the April training weekend. 

Uhl recently took over as Director of Operations for the Iowa Air National Guard at Joint Force Headquarters in Johnston, Iowa, after serving as an optometrist with 185th since 2013. 

During the ceremony, Uhl thanked friends and family who were present. He also thanked the many mentors he had throughout his career, as well as service members he worked with. 

Brig. Gen. Mark Muckey, Deputy Adjutant General for the Iowa Air National Guard, remarked Uhl’s experience as an artilleryman and medical professional made him a great fit for the role. 

“State leadership has faith in my abilities for this position, even coming from a medical field,” said Uhl. 

As the director of operations Uhl is charged with strategic planning and interoperability of the state’s Army and Air National Guard. 

Muckey remarked, with pun intended, that state leadership was looking for a new perspective in the position, so they appointed an eye doctor. 

After graduating from Bishop Heelan Catholic High School, Uhl gained his commission through the Army ROTC program at Iowa State University in 1999. 

Uhl served four years with the Army as an Air Defense Artillery Officer, serving as a Battalion Tactical Director during a deployment to Saudi Arabia.  

After his time on active duty, Uhl began pursuing a career in optometry. Uhl attended the University of Houston College of Optometry where he earned his Doctor of Optometry in 2008. 

After earning his doctorate, he began a local independent optometry practice while also serving in the Army Reserve as an Individual Military Augmentee.  Uhl then deployed to Afghanistan as an optometrist. 

Uhl came to the Air National Guard in 2013 and has since served on several medical teams. During his tenure at the 185th, he has been the Officer in Charge of Patient Safety. As a traditional member of the Air National Guard, Uhl has also served on several Innovative Readiness Training missions providing no-cost medical care to underserved US communities. 

As a prominent member of the community, Uhl is the owner and works in several of his own private optometry offices throughout northwest Iowa and serves Iowa as the Chair of Iowa Optometry Licensing Board. He is also a member of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce.

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