Colonel (Dr.) Walter “Sparky” Matthews serves as the Command Surgeon for Air Force Space Command (AFSPC). He provides consultative support to one numbered Air Force, one center, five wings, 134 operating locations, and six military treatment facilities. He leads and sets policy for the 1,314 medical personnel responsible for the health and well-being of more than 159,000 active duty members, retirees, and dependents with a medical budget exceeding $69 million. He manages all AFSPC medical readiness planning, training, and execution, advising senior leadership on relevant medical matters.
Colonel Matthews has commanded at the squadron, group and joint task force level, including his most recent role as Commander of Task Force Medical - Afghanistan and the Craig Joint Theater Hospital (455 EMDG) at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Colonel Matthews served as the Air Force Surgeon General’s Consultant for Aerospace Medicine, and was selected Class President of the National War College Class of 2014.
Colonel (Dr.) Matthews was born in Austin, Texas. He is a graduate of the Air Force Health Professions Scholarship Program and entered active duty in 1996. He is an Aerospace Medicine Specialist and is board certified in Aerospace Medicine and General Preventive Medicine & Public Health. Colonel Matthews is rated as a Chief Flight Surgeon.
1992 Bachelor of Arts, Baylor University, Waco, Texas
1995 Aerospace Medicine Primary Course, Brooks Air Force Base, Texas
1996 Doctor of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
1997 Transitional Internship, Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland AFB, Texas
1999 Squadron Officer’s School, by correspondence
1999 Master of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, Texas
2002 Residency in Aerospace Medicine, Brooks AFB, Texas
2005 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
2009 Air War College, by correspondence
2014 Master of Science, National Strategic Studies - The National War College, Ft McNair, D.C.
2016 Military Health System Capstone Course, DHHQ (JMESI), Washington, D.C.
2016 Interagency Institute for Federal Healthcare Executives, Washington, D.C.
1996 - 1997, Transitional Intern, Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland AFB, Texas
1997 - 1999, Flight Surgeon, Laughlin AFB, Texas
1999 - 2000, AFIT Masters Candidate, Univ of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, San Antonio, Texas
2000 - 2002, Resident in Aerospace Medicine, Brooks AFB, Texas
2002 - 2004, Chief of Aeromedical Services, Deputy Chief of the Medical Staff, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey
2004 - 2008, Chief of Aeromedical Services, Deputy Chief of the Medical Staff, Cannon AFB, N.M.
2008 - 2010, Commander, 7th Aerospace Medicine Squadron; Deputy Commander and Chief of Aeromedical Services, 7th Medical Group, Dyess AFB, Texas
2010 - 2012, Commander, 92d Aerospace Medicine Squadron; Deputy Commander and Chief of Aeromedical Services, 92d Medical Group, Fairchild AFB, Wash.
2012 - 2013, Chief, Flight and Operational Medicine Branch, Air Force Medical Operations Agency; Aerospace Medicine Consultant to the Air Force Surgeon General
2013 - 2014, Student, National War College; President, Class of 2014
2014 - 2017, Commander 10th Medical Group, USAF Academy Colorado; Command Surgeon, USAF Academy; Senior Market Executive, Colorado Springs Multi-Service Market (eMSM)
2017 - 2018, Commander, Task Force Medical-Afghanistan; Commander, 455th Expeditionary Medical Group, Bagram AF, Afghanistan
2018 - Present, Command Surgeon, Air Force Space Command
SUMMARY OF JOINT ASSIGNMENTS
Commander, Task Force Medical-Afghanistan, US Forces-Afghanistan, Bagram AF, Afghanistan
Rating: Chief Flight Surgeon
Flight hours: 1010, including 177 combat hours
Aircraft flown: T-38A, T-1A, AT-38B, T-37B, DHC-6, T-43A, C-12C, C-12F, C-9A, KC-135E, KC-135R, KC-135T, F-16D, C-17A, UH-60A, C-23, E-3B, E-3C, MC-130W, PC-12, C-130, B-1B, UH-1N, C-21A, UV-18B, HH-60
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal with four OLC
Air Force Achievement Medal with three OLC
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal with device
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary
Medal Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal with OLC
Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border with OLC
NATO Non-Article 5 Afghanistan Svc Medal
Winner of the John M. Collins Military Strategy Award for Excellence in Writing, NWC Class of 2014
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND ASSOCIATIONS
Associate Fellow, Aerospace Medical Association (Arrangements Chair)
Member, American College of Preventive Medicine
President, Society of USAF Flight Surgeons (Treasurer, Board of Governors)
Member, American Society of Aeromedical Specialists (Board of Governors)
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTIONS
Second Lieutenant May 14, 1992
Captain May 22, 1996
Major May 22, 2002
Lieutenant Colonel May 22, 2008
Colonel May 31, 2013
(Current as of August 2018)