Blackhurst earned his Air Force commission through ROTC in 1974 and began his career as a communications-electronics officer assigned to Strategic Air Command in the 509th Bomb Wing at Pease Air Force Base, New Hampshire. After completing his master’s degree through the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1979, he held numerous management positions within the Air Force personnel and human-research communities, including deputy assistant secretary for Science, Technology and Engineering.
He retired as a colonel in 2004 before moving to AFRL as director for the Human Effectiveness Directorate, 711th Human Performance Wing. He was appointed to SES in January 2010 and assumed his current position as AFRL executive director in June 2017.
“It has been a distinct honor to work with the AFRL professional workforce for many years,” Blackhurst said. “Our strength is our people. We live in a dangerous world and the nation is relying on you (AFRL workforce) to develop the advanced technology solutions in air, space and cyber to keep this nation safe for the current generation and for future generations to come. What you do really matters.”
He also shared a personal message for the AFRL workforce.
“I am a firm believer that everyone needs a plan for your future, for your career – short, mid, long-term,” he said. “Depending on your future goals, there are sometimes prerequisite education and experience required to do that job. Talk to leaders in those jobs and let them tell you how they prepared. Also, seek out mentors who you trust.
“Finally, be prepared to take necessary education and jobs to achieve your goals.”
The AFRL commander praised Blackhurst for his dedication and commitment.
“Jack’s distinguished career spans both active duty and civilian service and in all respects, he has served his country well,” Pringle said. “We wish him all the best in his retirement.”