November 1998 – May 1999, Student Navigator, C-141 Initial Mission Qualification, Altus AFB, Okla. Commander, 353rd Special Operations Group 1 Article (U), Brig Gen Kenneth Wilsbach, 18 WG/PCC, “Sayonara to Team Kadena,” AF News Print, 26 May 2011. Approximately 9,000 U.S. service members from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force will conduct training with their Japan Self-Defense Force counterparts from military installations throughout mainland Japan, Okinawa prefecture, and their surrounding territorial waters. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Col Thomas hails from Shelby Township, Michigan. Navy Achievement Medal 9. 1st Special Operations Squadron(MC-130H Combat Talon II) 2. Col. David Mullins accepted command from Col. Ray Chapman during a change of command ceremony with Maj. Gen., AFSOC IG conducts first no-notice inspection 'A Tribute to Persistence': SecAF presents Air Force Cross to Special Tactics Airman; Duke Field fuel cell hangar fire suppression test marks final steps towards renovation completion Disestablished on 8 Oct 1948. During an Airmen all-call Nov. 7, Webb described readiness, relevance and resiliency as the “three Rs” of the AFSOC priorities and expressed the success of the 353rd SOG in all three areas. Download this stock image: 353rd Special Operations Group commander Col. William Freeman delivers his outbound speech during a change of command ceremony July 19, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. 10. 2007 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence 17th Special Operations Squadron(MC-130P Combat Shadow) 3. 7. Air Force Achievement Medal w 1 OLC “This operation not only demonstrated the SOG’s ability to quickly deploy anywhere, anytime in the Pacific, but it also showed seamless interoperability between the 36th CRG and the 353rd SOG that led to mission success.” 320th Special Tactics Squadron 4. 1. The group's first predecessor was activated in 1944 as the 3d Air Commando Group. Gabrielle Spalding), A Japan Self-Defense Forces member, center left, and a 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron Airman, center right, push a containerized delivery system bundle onto a C-130J Super Hercules during Keen Sword 21, at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Oct. 30, 2020. Activated on 1 May 1944. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. 3. PHOTO DETAILS / DOWNLOAD HI-RES 1 of 6. The cover image depicts special operations forces from U.S. Army Special Operations Command, U.S. Navy Special Operations Command, U.S. The 353d Special Operations Group consists of the following squadrons: 1. Kathi Glascock, 100th Air Refueling Wing Command Chief, participated in a panel discussion, answering questions about lessons learned throughout their careers. 353d Operations Support Squadron 5. Lieutenant Colonel – May 2012 To commemorate this day RAF Mildenhall hosted Col. Carol Miller, 100th Mission Support Group Commander, Col. Michelle Estes, 352nd Special Operations Maintenance Group Commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Aerial Achievement Medal Defense Meritorious Service Medal From left are: Maj. Gen. Donald Wurster, Air Force Special Operations Command vice commander; Col. David Mullins, incoming 353rd SOG commander; and Col. Ray Chapman, outgoing commander. 6. Lineage. 2011 Master of Science, Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif. The U.S. Air Force Special Operations School’s Mission Commander’s Course prepares prospective mission commanders and senior enlisted leaders for their duties and responsibilities in either a deployed or off … He commands 950 special operations personnel across seven squadrons at Kadena and Yokota Air Bases, Official site of the 352nd Special Operations Wing, based at RAF Mildenhall in the United Kingdom Colonel – October 2018 2012 AirWar College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence 1997 Bachelor of Science, Nuclear Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich. After the typhoon moved past the island, a Special Tactics Team from the 320th Special Tactics Squadron was tasked to conduct the initial assessment of … William Turner, AFSOC command chief, run with 353rd Special Operations Group here Sept. 6 during the AFSOC leadership's visit. “The 353rd SOG responded quickly and efficiently to support the 36th CRG,” said Lt. Col. John Trube, 353rd SOG deputy commander and mission commander. Units from the 374th Airlift Wing and from the 353rd Special Operations Group accomplished a variety of missions alongside their Japan Self-Defense Force and joint partners across the Kanto Plains, allowing the enhancement of bilateral operations between the U.S. and Japan. The official website of the 353rd Special Operations Group, U.S. Air Force KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Key players for the 353rd Special Operations Group change of command ceremony look over the script before the event here June 8. As Commander of the 353 SOG, Col Thomas is the Commander of Air Force Special Operations Forces for both Special Operations Command Pacific and Korea. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Members with the 320th Special Tactics Squadron and Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) watch as their teammates are hoisted into a CV-22 Osprey, during a fast rope and hoist training as part of exercise Keen Sword 21, at the Yokota Air Base, Japan, Nov. 3, 2020. 5. Gabrielle Spalding), Members of the 320th Special Tactics Squadron and Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) descend from a CV-22 Osprey during a fast rope and hoist training as part of exercise Keen Sword 21, at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Nov. 3, 2020. Air Force Commendation Medal w 3 OLC Group training exercises between the flying, maintenance , and support units of the 353rd Special Operations Group ensure the multifunctional abilities of Pacific Air Commandos. June 2013 – April 2015, Director of Operations, 352d Special Operations Support Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom Gabrielle Spalding), U.S. Military, Japan Self-Defense Force leadership and other service members discuss mission operations on a C-17 Globemaster III, assigned to the 535th Airlift Squadron out of Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, during Keen Sword 21, at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Oct. 31, 2020. EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION 15. Download this stock image: U.S. Air Force Col. Jason Kirby, commander of 353rd Special Operations Group utilizes the Air Force Special Operations Command Air Rapid Response Kit (ARRK) command and control (C-2) node to conduct a video teleconference with Special Operations Command Pacific leadership Nov. 2, 2017, at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. 16. 13. January 1998 – November 1998, Student Navigator, 562d Flying Training Squadron, Randolph AFB, Texas 2003 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. An MC-130P from the 17th SOS lands at Yokota Air Base, 13 March 2011. Col Thomas is married to the former Courtney Hutt from Carthage, New York. William Freeman relinquished command of the 353rd SOG to Col. Jason Kirby, formerly, 14. Flight hours: 2,800 Col Thomas has supported multiple operations throughout his career such as JOINT GUARDIAN, NORTHERN WATCH, ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM and INHERENT RESOLVE. Over 20,000 personnel work at the base. Commander of the 353 SOG, Col is the Thomas Commander of Air Force Special Operations Forces for both Special Operations Command Pacific and Korea. June 2010 – January 2012, Student, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif. First Lieutenant – May 1999 Vote for the SOG in the @airmanmagazine ”Airman Top Shot” of the week contest! May 1999 – August 2002, C-141B Instructor Navigator, Tactics Bookie, 6th Airlift Squadron, McGuire AFB, N.J. KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The Air Force Special Operations Command commander along with the AFSOC command chief visited here Sept. 6 to get a closer look at the special operations mission in the Pacific. 353d Maintenance Squadron 6. Keen Sword is a training opportunity between JSDF and the U.S. military across a variety of scenarios, allowing the enhancement of interoperability of U.S. and Japanese forces. (Current as of July 2019). Jul 2019 – Present, Commander, 353d Special Operations Group, Kadena AB, Japan Meritorious Service Medal w 3 OLC 2007 Master of Business Administration, St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Joshua Thompson), A CV-22 Osprey assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron conducts air support for U.S. Army Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) Team, during Keen Sword 21 at Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, Japan, Nov. 4, 2020. February 2008 – June 2010, Instructor Navigator, Assistant Director of Operations, 7th Special Operations Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom William Turner took the time to tour each of the 353rd Special Operations Group facilities and meet with the 353rd SOG Airmen. Download this stock image: 353rd Special Operations Group commander Col. William Freeman delivers his outbound speech during a change of command ceremony July 19, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. July 2007 – February 2008, Student Navigator, MC-130H Initial Qualification, 58th Special Operations Wing, Kirtland AFB, Texas August 2002 – July 2005, Instructor Navigator, Assistant Director of Operations, 562d Flying Training Squadron, Randolph AFB, Texas KADENA AB, Japan -- Lt. Gen. Eric E. Fiel, Air Force Special Operations Command commander and Chief Master Sgt. Col Michael A. Thomas is currently the Commander, 353d Special Operations Group, Kadena Air Base, Japan. He was entrusted with the critical information flow and regular engagements with United States Special Operations Command and Headquarters Air Force. Aircraft flown: C-141B, T-43, C-130E, MC-130H Rating: Master Navigator ASSIGNMENTS A CV-22 Osprey assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron conducts tactical air-to-air refueling with an MC-130J Commando II from the 1 SOS during search and rescue training off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, Nov. 19, 2020. “We played a critical role with the Thai special operations regiment,” said Maj. Matthew Prochazka, 353rd SOG mission commander for exercise Cobra Gold. He acted as the personal advisor to the 3-star commander on the mission execution of the command’s 5 special operations wings, 89 squadrons and over 19,000 personnel. 8. July 2005 – February 2007, AETC Intern, Chief of Command Mobility Training Resources, AETC HQ, Randolph AFB, Texas A CV-22 # Osprey prepares to take off at Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, Japan, following combat search and rescue training during exercise Keen Sword, Oct. 29, 2020. Reestablished, and consolidated (31 Jul 1985) with the 553 Reconnaissance Wing, which was established, and, April 2015 – May 2017, Commander, 1st Special Operations Support Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla. 12. 2 Article (U), Col Robert Toth, 353 SOG/CC, “Operation Pathfinder,” Air Commando Journal, Fall 2011. MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS Inactivated on 25 Mar 1946. January 2012 – June 2013, Chief of Safety, 352d Special Operations Group, RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom EDUCATION Located in the Okinawa Prefecture of Japan is Kadena AB, home of the largest combat wing in the USAF, the 18th Wing . Col Michael A. Thomas is currently the Commander, 353d Special Operations Group, Kadena Air Base, Japan. AFSOC commander visits the 353rd SOG . 11. Jul 2018 – Jul 2019, Student, Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy Air Medal w 1 OLC During their visit, Lt. Gen. Eric E. Fiel and Chief Master Sgt. February 2007 – June 2007, Student Navigator, C-130 Initial Qualification, 714th Training Squadron, Little Rock AFB, Ark. Captain – May 2001 U.S. Air Force Col. Jason Kirby, 353rd Special Operations Group commander brief prospective mission commanders on his priorities and expectations Dec. 7, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Prior to this assignment, Col Thomas was a student at the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy where he focused his industry study on space and counter space. He received his commission through ROTC after graduating from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He commands 950 special operations personnel across seven squadrons at Kadena and Yokota Air Bases, supporting special operations throughout U.S. Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility by providing combat-ready Special Tactics Teams, MC-130H Combat Talon II, MC-130J Commando II, and CV-22 Osprey aircraft. Detachment 1, 43rd Intelligence Squadron Over his 22 years of service, Col Thomas has served in a variety of operational and staff assignments at various levels. As Commander of the 353 SOG, Col Thomas is the Commander of Air Force Special Operations Forces for both Special Operations Command Pacific and Korea. By Capt. Previously he was the Executive Officer to the Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command. U.S. Air Force Col. Jason Kirby, commander of 353rd Special Operations Group (SOG) briefs U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Daniel Yoo, commander of Special … 353rd welcomes new commander. U.S. Air Force Col. Jason Kirby, commander of 353rd Special Operations Group (SOG) briefs U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Daniel Yoo, commander of Special Operations Command Pacific (SOCPAC) during a visit Nov. 8, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The unit was assigned to Fifth Air Force in the Philippines in 1944 for operations with North American P-51 Mustangs, Douglas C-47 Skytrains, and Stinson L-5 … 2. 2019 Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy A new commander for the Air Commandos of the Pacific accepted the responsibility to lead the 353rd Special Operations Group into the future June 8. Under operational control of the commander, Special Operations Command Pacific, the 353 SOG plans and executes general war and contingency operations using advanced aircraft, tactics and techniques to infiltrate, exfiltrate, resupply and support special operations forces. On the Cover. Keen Sword is a training opportunity between JSDF and the U.S. military across a variety of scenarios, allowing the enhancement of interoperability of U.S. and Japanese forces. Units from the 374th Airlift Wing, and from the 353rd Special Operations Group accomplished a variety of missions alongside their JSDF and joint partners across the Kanto Plains, allowing the enhancement of bilateral operations between the U.S. and Japan. Col. Jason Kirby relinquished command of the 353rd Special Operations Group (SOG) to Col. Michael Thomas during a change of command ceremony on 3 July, 2019. Second Lieutenant – May 1997 Gabrielle Spalding), U.S., Japan Sharpen Skills During Keen Sword 21, Keen Sword 21 Enhances U.S.-Japan Alliance, Department of the Air Force pushes fitness testing to Jan. 1, AFSOC IG conducts first no-notice inspection, 'A Tribute to Persistence': SecAF presents Air Force Cross to Special Tactics Airman, Duke Field fuel cell hangar fire suppression test marks final steps towards renovation completion, AFSOC leadership remember fallen Airmen with Honor Trees, Special Tactics Airman to be awarded the Air Force Cross, JB Charleston delivers aid to Belize during holidays, Eielson AFB exercises rapid combat readiness, demonstrates arctic ability, Air Force Trials 2021: A Virtual Experience, Keesler AFB medics bring COVID-19 relief to Gulf Coast veterans, Acting defense secretary visits RAF Mildenhall, Department of the Air Force releases findings on racial disparity review. The Pacific Air Commandos from the 353rd Special Operations Group welcomed their new commander during a change of command ceremony June 19 at Kadena Air Base, Japan.Col. Established as 3 Air Commando Group on 25 Apr 1944. They have two children, six year old daughter, Elle and three year old son, Declan. 4. Jessica Tait, 353rd Special Operations Group Public Affairs, 353rd Special Operations Group / Published November 14, 2016. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. FLIGHT INFORMATION He also led a 22 person staff including the Commander’s Action Group, Protocol and Commander’s Support Staff in the daily execution of the Headquarter’s functions. Major – February 2007 May 2017 – Jul 2018, Executive Officer to the Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla. The 353rd Special Operations Group is an operational unit of the United States Air Force Special Operations Command, stationed at Kadena Air Base, Japan. After a 25-year absence, the 353rd SOG returned to New Zealand in 2014 to build-up the relationship with RNZAF 40th Squadron. June 1997 – January 1998, Student Navigator, 325th Flying TrainingWing, Pensacola Naval Air Station, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brieana E. Bolfing), Members with the 320th Special Tactics Squadron and Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) watch as their teammates are hoisted into a CV-22 Osprey, during a fast rope and hoist training as part of exercise Keen Sword 21, at the Yokota Air Base, Japan, Nov. 3, 2020. "This year we focused on further developing our partnership capacity and interoperability with 40th SQDN through low-level formation work and tactical operations on night vision goggles (NVGs)," said Maj. Mark Schmidt, mission commander for Exercise Teak Net. 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