WARHAWK01 visits Team Kadena Recon

  • Published
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

The 55th Wing commander recently visited the 82d Reconnaissance Squadron and 390th Intelligence Squadron, who operate here at one of the wing’s five geographically separated locations.

Col. Mark Howard spent four days with Team Kadena Recon, as they are known, talking with Airmen, learning about mission challenges from leadership, seeing how closely the units work with other mission partners and flying an operational sortie over the Pacific Ocean.

“What I saw was a team of Airmen dedicated to executing their mission at the highest levels,” he said. “Their flexibility and precision make them incredibly adept at keeping us ahead of our near peer competitors in the region, which could not be more crucial.”

Team Kadena Recon fly operational reconnaissance missions throughout the Pacific theater. They provide combat ready personnel who collect, analyze and report vital intelligence to combatant commanders and other national foreign policy decision makers.

“Every day, the men and women that comprise Team Kadena Recon play a pivotal role in monitoring the Indo-Pacific theater,” said Lt. Col. John Casey, 82d RS commander. “The work we do won’t always make the evening news, but it constantly drives decisions at the highest levels of our national security enterprise.”

“It really is incredible to see the drive and passion that being in Kadena brings out in everybody that comes here,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Wolski, 390th IS commander. “All across Team Kadena Recon you will find the most dedicated and skilled Airmen that our country has to offer.”

Comprised of more than 250 permanent and deployed personnel, the two units have seen their operational requirements increase as tensions continue to rise in the region.

“As the geopolitical situation in the Pacific has evolved over the years, we have certainly seen a greater emphasis on our operations, both in the frequency of missions and the depth of our analysis,” Wolski said. “To be executing daily in a theater that receives so much attention from our strategic leadership gives great meaning for our Airmen and sharpens our skills.”

“Team Kadena Recon supports the mission of the combatant commander every day,” Casey said. “Whether is flying operational missions, coordinating with Air Operations Centers, conducting intelligence analysis, preparing our aircraft for the next day’s mission, or caring for our deployed and permanent party Airmen the work never stops.”

Having WARHAWK01 not only travel nearly 7,000 miles to hear from Airmen one on one, but also fly an operational mission with them goes a long way at showing just how important they are to the nation and its allies.

“It is always a pleasure to highlight to our wing leadership the great things our Airmen are accomplishing in the Indo-Pacific,” Casey said, “but what made this event so special was having our wing commander fly on an operational sortie allowing us to showcase the capabilities the RC-135 brings to the theater and what our maintainers and crews are doing during a real-world mission to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

“It is always amazing when the wing commander recognizes not only the incredible work our Airmen do, but actively participates in that experience with them,” Wolski said. “It was so wonderful to really have time for him to be fully integrated with the team from mission planning through execution, and to see firsthand how capable our young Airmen are at handling such great responsibilities.”

Howard said this trip was eye opening as he was able see first-hand some of the innovation which has made these units more lethal than ever before.

“We earned our Warhawks name in this region,” Howard said. “Our crews are on the tip of the spear when they operate here, often times finding themselves face to face with our adversaries, but they will not be deterred from accomplishing their mission.”