KADENA AB, Japan -- Lt. Gen. Eric E. Fiel, Air Force Special Operations Command commander and Chief Master Sgt. FLIGHT INFORMATION Activated on 1 May 1944. 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. 2012 AirWar College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence 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. They have two children, six year old daughter, Elle and three year old son, Declan. 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. (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. 15. 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. 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. The group's first predecessor was activated in 1944 as the 3d Air Commando Group. 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. Detachment 1, 43rd Intelligence Squadron 1st Special Operations Squadron(MC-130H Combat Talon II) 2. MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS January 1998 – November 1998, Student Navigator, 562d Flying Training Squadron, Randolph AFB, Texas Kathi Glascock, 100th Air Refueling Wing Command Chief, participated in a panel discussion, answering questions about lessons learned throughout their careers. 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. Lineage. 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. 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. (Current as of July 2019). 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 … Col Thomas hails from Shelby Township, Michigan. 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. Disestablished on 8 Oct 1948. February 2007 – June 2007, Student Navigator, C-130 Initial Qualification, 714th Training Squadron, Little Rock AFB, Ark. Meritorious Service Medal w 3 OLC 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 After a 25-year absence, the 353rd SOG returned to New Zealand in 2014 to build-up the relationship with RNZAF 40th Squadron. “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.” Defense Meritorious Service Medal 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. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. 3. Located in the Okinawa Prefecture of Japan is Kadena AB, home of the largest combat wing in the USAF, the 18th Wing . (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. Over 20,000 personnel work at the base. 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 … 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. June 2010 – January 2012, Student, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif. Flight hours: 2,800 Aircraft flown: C-141B, T-43, C-130E, MC-130H He commands 950 special operations personnel across seven squadrons at Kadena and Yokota Air Bases, 10. 7. Rating: Master Navigator 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. Colonel – October 2018 June 2013 – April 2015, Director of Operations, 352d Special Operations Support Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom "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. 2 Article (U), Col Robert Toth, 353 SOG/CC, “Operation Pathfinder,” Air Commando Journal, Fall 2011. May 2017 – Jul 2018, Executive Officer to the Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla. 2003 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. Air Medal w 1 OLC Over his 22 years of service, Col Thomas has served in a variety of operational and staff assignments at various levels. Col Michael A. Thomas is currently the Commander, 353d Special Operations Group, Kadena Air Base, Japan. 5. 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. August 2002 – July 2005, Instructor Navigator, Assistant Director of Operations, 562d Flying Training Squadron, Randolph AFB, Texas Navy Achievement Medal The 353rd Special Operations Group is an operational unit of the United States Air Force Special Operations Command, stationed at Kadena Air Base, Japan. 8. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Captain – May 2001 353rd welcomes new commander. 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. Air Force Commendation Medal w 3 OLC Previously he was the Executive Officer to the Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command. 2007 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence He was entrusted with the critical information flow and regular engagements with United States Special Operations Command and Headquarters Air Force. Group training exercises between the flying, maintenance , and support units of the 353rd Special Operations Group ensure the multifunctional abilities of Pacific Air Commandos. The cover image depicts special operations forces from U.S. Army Special Operations Command, U.S. Navy Special Operations Command, U.S. PHOTO DETAILS / DOWNLOAD HI-RES 1 of 6. January 2012 – June 2013, Chief of Safety, 352d Special Operations Group, RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom First Lieutenant – May 1999 Col. David Mullins accepted command from Col. Ray Chapman during a change of command ceremony with Maj. Gen., 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. 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. 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. Col Michael A. Thomas is currently the Commander, 353d Special Operations Group, Kadena Air Base, Japan. He received his commission through ROTC after graduating from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The 353d Special Operations Group consists of the following squadrons: 1. 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 … EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. 353d Maintenance Squadron 6. William Freeman relinquished command of the 353rd SOG to Col. Jason Kirby, formerly, Major – February 2007 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. “We played a critical role with the Thai special operations regiment,” said Maj. Matthew Prochazka, 353rd SOG mission commander for exercise Cobra Gold. ASSIGNMENTS 16. Jessica Tait, 353rd Special Operations Group Public Affairs, 353rd Special Operations Group / Published November 14, 2016. On the Cover. 12. 14. 2019 Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy AFSOC commander visits the 353rd SOG . Official site of the 352nd Special Operations Wing, based at RAF Mildenhall in the United Kingdom June 1997 – January 1998, Student Navigator, 325th Flying TrainingWing, Pensacola Naval Air Station, Fla. 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 … Vote for the SOG in the @airmanmagazine ”Airman Top Shot” of the week contest! 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. Air Force Achievement Medal w 1 OLC February 2008 – June 2010, Instructor Navigator, Assistant Director of Operations, 7th Special Operations Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom Col Thomas has supported multiple operations throughout his career such as JOINT GUARDIAN, NORTHERN WATCH, ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM and INHERENT RESOLVE. 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. 11. 4. 1997 Bachelor of Science, Nuclear Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich. July 2007 – February 2008, Student Navigator, MC-130H Initial Qualification, 58th Special Operations Wing, Kirtland AFB, Texas 9. Established as 3 Air Commando Group on 25 Apr 1944. Second Lieutenant – May 1997 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. 2007 Master of Business Administration, St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas William Turner took the time to tour each of the 353rd Special Operations Group facilities and meet with the 353rd SOG Airmen. Col Thomas is married to the former Courtney Hutt from Carthage, New York. EDUCATION “The 353rd SOG responded quickly and efficiently to support the 36th CRG,” said Lt. Col. John Trube, 353rd SOG deputy commander and mission commander. 6. 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. Inactivated on 25 Mar 1946. Reestablished, and consolidated (31 Jul 1985) with the 553 Reconnaissance Wing, which was established, and, (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. 320th Special Tactics Squadron 4. 13. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. 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. April 2015 – May 2017, Commander, 1st Special Operations Support Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla. The official website of the 353rd Special Operations Group, U.S. Air Force 17th Special Operations Squadron(MC-130P Combat Shadow) 3. 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. 1. An MC-130P from the 17th SOS lands at Yokota Air Base, 13 March 2011. 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. 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. May 1999 – August 2002, C-141B Instructor Navigator, Tactics Bookie, 6th Airlift Squadron, McGuire AFB, N.J. 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. 2011 Master of Science, Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif. November 1998 – May 1999, Student Navigator, C-141 Initial Mission Qualification, Altus AFB, Okla. During their visit, Lt. Gen. Eric E. Fiel and Chief Master Sgt. 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