Director Joint Staff

Brig. Gen. Dana A. Hessheimer

Brig. Gen. Dana A. Hessheimer
Director, Joint Staff

Brig. Gen. Dana A. Hessheimer is the Director, Joint Staff, California Military Department, Sacramento, California. The Joint Staff is comprised of more than 120 personnel including Army, Air Force and civilian employees in varying duty statuses located at geographically separated facilities throughout Northern California. The Joint Staff provides staff support, enabling the Adjutant General to Command the State Military Forces and Direct the California Military Department in organizing, resourcing, and training Joint Forces with unique Capabilities serving the Community, State, and Nation.

General Hessheimer began his military career in 1988, receiving his commission from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Reserve Officer Training Corps before attending undergraduate pilot training at Reese AFB, Texas. After graduating from pilot training he was assigned to the 55 WG at Offutt AFB, Neb. and flew the RC-135. His first deployment was flying combat missions in support of Operation  DESERT STORM. After separating from the Active Duty in 1994, General Hessheimer joined the Nebraska Air National Guard and flew the KC-135.  He was a Traditional guardsman for two years then was hired on full-time as an Active Guard Reservist.  In 2000, he joined the CANG as the Chief of Safety. He continued flying the KC-135 until the unit converted to the Predator mission. He also was the Liaison Officer in Istres, France three times during his time in both Nebraska and California.

General Hessheimer is a command pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours in various aircraft, including the MQ-1 Predator Remotely Piloted Aircraft, KC-135, RC-135 (Rivet Joint, Combat Sent, Cobra Ball and Cobra Eye) and T-38. He was Acting Operations Group Commander when the unit deployed in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. He has also acted as Detachment Commander on three separate occasions and was the Director of Operations in both the, 196th Reconnaissance Squadron and 163rd Operation Support Squadron. General Hessheimer deployed to Incirlik, Turkey as the Expeditionary Operations Group Commander for the 39 Expeditionary Operations Group in support of the MQ-1 NOMAD SHADOW mission which is a Presidential directed mission to support our Turkish allies. His deployments include: Operation DESERT STORM, Operation DESERT CALM, Operation SOUTHERNWATCH, Operation DELIBERATE GUARD, Operation JOINT GUARD, Operation JOINT FORGE, Operation NORTHERNWATCH, Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and Operation NEW DAWN.  Prior to his current position, he served as the Wing Commander, 163rd Attack Wing, March Air Reserve Base, California.


  • 1988 Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, University of Nebraska, Lincoln Neb.
  • 1998 Squadron Officer School, by correspondence
  • 2003 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
  • 2007 Air War College, by correspondence
  • 2015 Master’s degree in management leadership, Liberty University, Lynchburg, Va.


  • May 1989 – December 1990, Student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Reese Air Force Base, Texas
  • January 1991 – December 1993, Pilot, RC-135, 55th Wing, Offutt AFB
  • January 1994 – December 1995, Co-Pilot, 173d Air Refueling Squadron, Lincoln Air National Guard Base, Neb.
  • January 1996 – August 2000, Assistant Scheduler, 155th Air Refueling Wing, Lincoln ANGB
  • September 2000 – October 2002, Wing Safety Officer, 163d Air Refueling Wing, March Air Reserve Base
  • November 2002 – September 2004, Instructor Pilot, 163d Operations Support Squadron, March ARB
  • October 2004 – December 2006, Assistant Operations Officer, 196th Reconnaissance Squadron and 196th Aerial Refueling Squadron, March ARB
  • January 2007 – October 2007, Operations Officer, 196th Reconnaissance Squadron, March ARB
  • November 2007 – July 2009, Predator Pilot, 163d Operations Support Squadron, March ARB
  • August 2009 – April 2013, Group Commander, 163d Operations Group, March ARB
  • May 2013 – October 2017, Wing Commander, 163d Attack Wing, March ARB
  • October 2017 – Present, Director, Joint Staff, California Military Department, Sacramento, Calif.

Flight Information

  • Rating: Command pilot
  • Flight hours: More than 4,000
  • Aircraft flown: KC-135 R, MQ-1B, RC-135 U/V/W/S/X, T-37, T-38

Major Awards and Decorations

  • Legion of Merit
  • Meritorious Service Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Aerial Achievement Medal with four Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Air Force Commendation Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Air Force Achievement Medal with three Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
  • AF Outstanding Unit Award with one Silver Oak Leaf Cluster and three Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Combat Readiness Medal with one Silver Oak Leaf Cluster and two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
  • National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with Bronze Star
  • Southwest Asia Service Medal with two Bronze Stars
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • Armed Forces Service Medal
  • AF Longevity Service with one Silver Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Armed Forces Reserve Medal with one Silver Hourglass
  • Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon Pistol
  • AF Training Ribbon
  • NATO Medal with Bronze Star
  • Kuwait Liberation Medal Government of Kuwait

Effective Dates of Promotion

  • Second Lieutenant Jan. 10, 1989
  • First Lieutenant Jan. 10, 1991
  • Captain Jan. 10, 1993
  • Major Aug. 2, 1999
  • Lieutenant Colonel Aug. 2, 2003
  • Colonel Aug. 17, 2010
  • Brigadier General July 5, 2017