Defense Secretary Ash Carter is nominating Gen. David Goldfein to become the next Air Force chief of staff.

Goldfein, a combat pilot with more than 4,200 hours in the air, has been serving as the vice chief of staff of the Air Force since last August.

He flew combat missions in Afghanistan as well as the first Gulf war in the early 1990s. He has piloted the MQ-9 Reaper drone, the MC-12W Liberty surveillance aircraft and various fighter jets.

Goldfein's F-16 fighter jet was shot down over Serbia in 1999 during the Kosovo war, but he safely ejected and was found and rescued.

If confirmed by the Senate, he would replace Gen. Mark Welsh, who is retiring.