Col Salas enlisted in the New Mexico Air National Guard as a Weapons Control Systems Mechanic in 1980 and served in the enlisted ranks until commissioning in 1987.
Upon commissioning, he served as Chief of Field Maintenance, Communications Flight Commander, Mission Support Flight Commander, State Equal Employment Manager, and Counterdrug Coordinator. He also served as Legislative Liaison for the prior three Adjutants General. Under his watch the Communications Flight went from marginal inspection ratings to outstanding, the Mission Support Flight was selected as the Tactical Communications Division Mission Support Flight of the Year, and the New Mexico National Guard was awarded the first-ever DoD Community Drug Awareness Award.
As Counterdrug Coordinator he led an Army/Air Task Force with ground and air components including C-26 fixed-wing aircraft and a detachment of OH-58 Kiowa helicopters running night and day surveillance and observation missions along the border with Mexico and in urban environments. He was responsible for an Army/Air budget of $5 M and dealt extensively with the Army and Air chain of command, elected and appointed officials, law enforcement agents, and community leaders.
Col Salas was appointed Commander of the Mission Support Group in January 2004. He oversees the Logistics Readiness Squadron, Civil Engineering Squadron, Security Forces Squadron, Communications Flight, Mission Support Flight, Services Flight, Contracting, Bio-Environmental Compliance Shop and the full-time support staff of the Medical Squadron.
He attended Squadron Officer School (Citizen-Soldier Award), Air Command and Staff College (top third graduate) and the Defense Equal Employment Opportunity Institute (honor graduate) in residence. He is an excellent graduate of the correspondence Air War College. Col Salas attended Naval Post-Graduate School and acquired a Master’s degree in International Studies and Civil-Military Relations (graduate with distinction). His awards include the MSM and Joint, Army and Air Commendation Medals.
Col Salas served a tour of duty in the Executive Office of the President – Drug Control Policy under General (ret.) McCaffrey on the Mexico Desk – with the task of leading an inter-agency effort and negotiating with the inter-agency’s Mexican counterparts in crafting performance measures of effectiveness for the U.S.-Mexico Bi-National Drug Control Strategy.
Served as Commander 332d Expeditionary Mission Support Group Commander, Balad AB, Iraq (April – July 2005).
He sits on the Board of Directors for the National Guard Association of the United States as well as on the Executive Council of the New Mexico National Guard Association. He was awarded the National Image Meritorious Service Award and won the General Spruance Company Grade Essay Contest.
Most recently, he served as Commander, 332d Expeditionary Mission Support Group Commander, Balad AB, Iraq, from April – July 2005.
Col Salas is married to the former Martha Griego and has 5 children – Ariana (15), Araceli (13), Ariela (11), Arinea (9) and Andres (8).