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kadena air base Key Leadership

Brig. Gen. 
Case A. Cunningham
Vice Commander
Col. Richard C. Tanner
Command CMSgt
CMSgt Jessica L. Bender

Team Kadena Group Commanders:

Col. Scott Rowe - 18th Operations Group
Col. Thang T. Doan - 18th Mission Support Group
Col. Tony S. Lombardo  - 18th Maintenance Group
Col. Theresa B. Goodman - 18th Medical Group
Col. Robert S. Grainger - 18th Civil Engineer Group

Col. Jason T. Kirby - 353rd Special Operations Group



Colonel Richard C. Tanner is Vice Commander, 18th Wing, Kadena Air Base, Japan. The 18th Wing, the largest combat wing in the U.S. Air Force, provides the Commander, U.S. Pacific Command, trained and equipped tactical air superiority forces, combat search and rescue forces, command and control platforms, aeromedical evacuation capability, and global mobility resources for contingency operations. The wing flies the F-15C, KC-135R, HH-60 and E-3 aircraft. Additionally, the wing provides the 5th Air Force commander a responsive staging and operational air base with integrated, deployable, forward-based airpower.


Colonel Tanner received his commission from the United States Air Force Academy in 1998, and after Undergraduate Pilot Training, he qualified in the C-17A Globemaster.  He has served in various operational positions, including Special Operations Flight Commander and Squadron Director of Operations, and has commanded operational and combat missions worldwide in support of Operations Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.  He served as the Commander of the 305th Operations Support Squadron at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, where he led more than 385 Airmen, Sailors and Soldiers in the Air Force’s only tri-service Operations Support Squadron.  In 2006, he was selected as an Olmsted Scholar to Osaka University, Japan, and has served in staff capacities as the Japan Country Director on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Chief of Officer Development at HQ Air Mobility Command.


Before his current assignment, Colonel Tanner was a Senior Defense Fellow at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. 



1998 Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry, U.S. Air Force Academy, CO

2004 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, AL

2007 Air Command and Staff College, in correspondence, Maxwell AFB, AL

2009 Master of International Public Policy, Osaka University, Japan

2009 Olmsted Scholar Program (IDE Equivalency)

2012 Air War College, in correspondence, Maxwell AFB, AL

2017 Senior Defense Fellow, Harvard University





  1.   August 1998 - November 1999, Student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Columbus AFB, MS

  2.  March 2000 - June 2006, C-17 Evaluator Pilot, Group Executive Officer, Spec Ops Flight Commander, Special Operations Planner, 15th Airlift Squadron/437 OG, Charleston AFB, SC

  3.   June 2006 - June 2007, Student, Defense Language Institute, Washington, D.C.

  4.   July 2007 - July 2009, Olmsted Scholar, Osaka University, Japan

  5.   July 2009 - July 2010, Assistant Ops Officer, Deployed Det Chief, 21st AS, Travis AFB, CA

  6.   July 2010 - July 2011, Operations Officer, 60th Operations Support Sq, Travis AFB, CA

  7.   July 2011 - June 2013, Political-Military Planner, Strategic Plans and Policy, Joint Staff, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

  8.  June 2013 - June 2015, Commander, 305th Operations Support Squadron, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey

  9.  June 2015 - June 2016, Chief, Officer Development, HQ Air Mobility Command, Scott AFB, IL

  10.  June 2016 - June 2017, Senior Defense Fellow, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

  11.  June 2017 - Present, Vice Commander, 18th Wing, Kadena Air Base, Japan


Rating:  Command Pilot

Flight hours:  3300+

Aircraft flown: T-37, T-1, C-17, KC-10, KC-135



Defense Meritorious Service Medal

Meritorious Service Medal w/3OLC

Air Medal w/OLC

Aerial Achievement Medal

Air Force Commendation Medal w/OLC

Joint Service Achievement Medal

Humanitarian Service Medal  



Second Lieutenant May 27, 1998

First Lieutenant May 27, 2000

Captain May 27, 2002

Major Oct 1, 2007

Lieutenant Colonel Oct 1, 2012

Colonel May 1, 2017


(Current as of June 2017)