Lt. Gen. Michael T. Plehn
Military Deputy Commander, U.S. Southern Command
Lieutenant General Mike Plehn serves as the Military Deputy Commander of U.S. Southern Command in Doral, Florida. After graduating from Miami Southridge High School in 1983, he attended the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy with military distinction in 1988 and a degree in astronautical engineering. He is a graduate of the School of Advanced Airpower Studies and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force Fellows program. Prior to his current assignment, he was the Deputy Commander for Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Florida.
General Plehn has served on the Air Staff and in multiple joint assignments where his duties have included Chief of the Joint Interagency Coordination Group at HQ U.S. European Command; Chief of Directed Studies at the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization; Deputy Director of the Special Plans Working Group at HQ U.S. Central Command; Principal Director of Middle East Policy for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense and Chief of Staff at HQ U.S. Southern Command.
General Plehn is a master navigator with 2,200 flight hours, including more than 350 combat hours, primarily as an Electronic Warfare Officer on the AC-130 gunship. He has flight time in the AC-130H, AC-130U, U-28A, MQ-1B, MQ-9, and F-16D aircrafts. He has flown missions supporting operations over Bosnia, Somalia, Haiti, and Afghanistan and has commanded special operations units at the squadron, group, and wing levels.
His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Aerial Achievement Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Gallant Unit Citation and the Joint Meritorious Unit Award with Silver oak leaf cluster.