Colonel Ryan D. Ayers is the Deputy Commander, 119th Wing, North Dakota Air National Guard. As Deputy Commander, Colonel Ayers is second-in-command of nearly 1,200 Air National Guard airmen who train, deploy, and execute MQ-9 persistent attack and reconnaissance, kinetic and non-kinetic intelligence target production, and provide expeditionary mission support for the Nation and State of North Dakota. Additionally, Colonel Ayers maintains his qualification as a MQ-9 pilot.
Colonel Ayers is an AFROTC Distinguished Graduate from North Dakota State University. Throughout his career, Colonel Ayers has flown tactical airlift and operational support aircraft, as well as remotely piloted persistent attack and reconnaissance aircraft. He has previously commanded at both the Squadron and Group levels.
Colonel Ayers has served as an instructor pilot in both the C-21A and MQ-1B. He is a command pilot with more than 4,100 hours and a graduate of the U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. Prior to serving as Deputy Commander, he served as the North Dakota National Guard Director of Staff – Air, Fraine Barracks, Bismarck, North Dakota. Colonel Ayers is a native of St. Paul, Minnesota.


2001 Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering, North Dakota State University, Fargo, N.D.
2003 Aerospace Basic Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2009 Squadron Officer School, correspondence, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2014 Air Command and Staff College, correspondence, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2019 Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, R.I.


1. August 2001 – September 2002, Student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Laughlin AFB, Texas
2. Sep 2002 – January 2006, Stan/Eval Officer, Chief of Mobility, 457th Airlift Squadron, Andrews AFB, Maryland
3. January 2006 – August 2006, Student, C-130E/H Aircraft Commander Training, Little Rock AFB, Arkansas
4. August 2006 – August 2007, Assistant Chief of Safety, 40th Airlift Squadron, Dyess AFB, Texas
5. August 2007 – April 2010, Chief of Training, 177th Airlift Squadron, NDANG
6. April 2010 – April 2011, Assistant Chief of Stan/Eval, 119th Operations Group, NDANG
7. April 2011 – July 2011, Student, MQ-1B Training, March ARB, California
8. July 2011 – February 2012, Assistant Director of Operations, 119th Operations Support Squadron, NDANG
9. February 2012 – August 2014, Director of Operations, 119th Operations Support Squadron, NDANG
10. August 2014 – August 2015, Director of Operations, 178th Reconnaissance Squadron, NDANG
11. August 2015 – April 2016, Chief of Staff/Executive Officer, 119th Wing, NDANG
12. April 2016 – June 2016, Commander, 178th Reconnaissance Squadron, NDANG
13. Oct 2016 – June 2018, Commander, 178th Attack Squadron, NDANG
14. June 2018 – June 2019, Student, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island
15. July 2019 – October 2022, Commander, 119th Operations Group, NDANG
16. October 2022 – January 2024, Director of Staff, Air, Fraine Barracks, Bismarck, North Dakota
17. January 2024 – Present, Deputy Commander, 119th Wing, NDANG


Rating: Command Pilot
Flight hours: More than 4,100
Aircraft flown: T-37, T-1A, C-21A, C-130E/H, MQ-1B, MQ-9A


Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Air Medal
Aerial Achievement Medal with a silver and oak leaf cluster
Air and Space Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air and Space Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster


Second Lieutenant July 14, 2001
First Lieutenant July 14, 2003
Captain July 14, 2005
Major May 19, 2010
Lieutenant Colonel February 27, 2015
Colonel November 21, 2019

(Current as of Jan 2024)