53rd Wing Leadership

Biography Search

Biography Alphabetical List


Colonel Dan “Cobra” Knerl is the Deputy Commander of the 53d Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.  The wing is comprised of more than 1,600 military and civilian personnel across 42 units at 16 diverse locations throughout the United States. The 53d Wing conducts fighter, bomber, combat search and rescue, and remotely-piloted air vehicle operational testing, evaluation, and tactics development. Additionally, the wing is responsible for the Air Force’s Weapons System Evaluation Program.
Colonel Knerl is from Ponca, Nebraska, and received his commission in 2001 from the United States Air Force Academy.  He has served as an instructor pilot and weapons officer in the B-2A.  He has commanded at the squadron level and is a command pilot with more than 2,800 hours.  Prior to his current assignment, Colonel Knerl served as the Director, AFGSC/A5X, B-21 Integration and Systems Management Office, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, D.C.
2001  Bachelor of Science in Biology, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO
2007  Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL
2011  Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
2011  USAF B-2A Weapons Instructor Course, Whiteman AFB, MO
2013  Master of Science in Aviation Safety, University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO
2021  Air Force Fellow, Los Alamos National Laboratory, NM (Senior Developmental Education)
June 2001 – October 2001:  Awaiting Pilot Training, U.S. Air Force Academy, CO
November 2001 – December 2002:  Student, Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Laughlin AFB, TX
January 2003 – May 2003:  Student, T-6 Pilot Instructor Training, Randolph AFB, TX
June 2003 – January 2006:  T-6 Instructor, Moody AFB, GA
February 2006 – July 2006:  Student, T-38 Pilot Instructor Training, Randolph AFB, TX
June 2006 – December 2007:  T-38 Instructor and Student, B-2 Initial Qualification Training, Whiteman AFB, MO
January 2008 – December 2011:  B-2 Pilot/Instructor Pilot, Chief of Mobility/Scheduling/Nuclear Operations, 13th Bomb Squadron, Whiteman AFB, MO
January 2012 – June 2012:  Assistant Director of Operations, B-2 Instructor Pilot and Weapons Officer, 393rd Bomb Squadron, Whiteman AFB MO
June 2012 – December 2014:  Assistant Director of Operations and Wing Weapons Officer, 509th Operation Support Squadron, Whiteman AFB, MO; Executive Officer, Office of the Defense Representative, Pakistan, Islamabad, PK
January 2015 – December 2016:  Chief, Integration Branch, HAF/A8XP, Pentagon, DC
January 2017 – May 2018:  Director of Operations, 72nd Test and Evaluation Squadron, Whiteman AFB, MO
May 2018 – June 2020:  Commander, 72nd Test and Evaluations Squadron, Whiteman AFB, MO
July 2020 – June 2021:  Air Force National Laboratories Technical Fellow, Los Alamos, NM
July 2021 – December 2022:  Deputy Director AFGSC/A5X, B-21 Integration and System Management Office, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, DC
Jan 2023 – July 2023:  Director AFGSC/A5X, B-21 Integration and System Management Office, Join Base Anacostia-Bolling, DC
August 2023 – Present:  Deputy Commander, 53d Wing, Eglin AFB, FL

Rating:  Command Pilot
Total flight hours:  More than 2,500
Aircraft flown:  T-37, T-38A/C, T-6A, and B-2A
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air and Space Commendation Medal
Combat Readiness Medal with oak leaf cluster
National Defense Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal with “N” device
Second Lieutenant - May 2001
First Lieutenant - May 2003
Captain - May 2005
Major - Apr 2010
Lieutenant Colonel - Jul 2016
Colonel - Jul 2022
(Current as of Aug 2023)