Female commanders lead hunt at exercise

  • Published
  • By 55th Wing Public Affairs


Units from across the world are currently participating in exercise Resolute Hunter, a multi-national and joint service exercise taking place through Nov. 18, 2022, at Naval Air Station Fallon.

Uniquely, two of the units working closely together, the 55th Wing and Royal Australian Air Force’s No. 10 Squadron, are led by female commanders.

“This exercise has been incredibly educational for us,” said Col. Kristen Thompson, 55th Wing commander. “I couldn’t be more pleased.”

“It has been a fantastic exercise,” said Wing Commander Marija Jovanovich, No. 10 Squadron commander. “I’m absolutely loving it.”

The goal of Resolute Hunter is to improve battle management, command and control, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance integration and readiness across the Department of Defense and with coalition partners.

“This exercise is crucial to the future fight,” Thompson said. “Being able to execute operations at an extremely high level with our joint and with our coalition partners is invaluable.”

“This is the only exercise of its kind in the world,” Jovanovich said. “It is what we call a tier one activity, which is the highest level of warfighting training we can get, and it’s been great.”

The Fightin’ Fifty-Fifth has been using Resolute Hunter to test its Lead Wing capabilities. Utilizing NAS Fallon as a Main Operating Base, its personnel are managing C2 at forward operating stations at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, and Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

“This is the future, and we are proud to be on the cutting edge as we develop and test ourselves as a Lead Wing,” Thompson said. “We execute all five of the Air Force core missions so it’s exciting to bring all of these missions to bear in a challenging exercise.”

The Australians are using Resolute Hunter to not only develop and evaluate coalition tactics, techniques, and procedures, but also focus internally on their operations.

“Yes, we are working on optimizing integration with our allies, but also developing individual technical mastery of the team that are here because they can’t get this environment anywhere else,” said Jovanovich.

In addition to serving as the Australian contingent commander while at NAS Fallon, Jovanovich is also the J3 director of operations for Resolute Hunter.

“I’ve been highly involved with the Resolute Hunter leadership,” she said. “We’ve seen the exercise develop over the past three years, so it’s been great to serve in that role.”

Col. Wendy Squarcia, 170th Group commander, is at NAS Fallon observing Resolute Hunter to see how the Air National Guard unit can integrate moving forward and had the opportunity to attend an exercise update where Jovanovich led the operations briefing.

“She absolutely killed it,” she said. “It was very impressive to see her address the leadership and it was very clear she had command of ops.”

Even though this exercise has yet to be complete, both the 55th Wing and No. 10 Squadron are already making plans to return to Resolute Hunter in the future.

“Absolutely,” Jovanovich said. “This is what allows us to optimize our interoperability with our allies in the Indo Pacific.”

“We’re actually looking to get more involved in this exercise moving forward,” said Thompson. “It’s truly been an honor to fight alongside some really fantastic leaders like Col. Squarcia and Wing Commander Jovanovich.”