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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 Kirby is the Commander, 353d Special Operations Group, Kadena Air Base, Japan.  Most recently, he was the National Defense Fellow to the Atlantic Council, Washington D.C.  He previously commanded the 524th Special Operations Squadron, Cannon AFB, NM. Colonel Kirby is a command pilot with over 3,100 flying hours in the C-146A, Do-328, MC-130P and C-130E. He has led 225 U.S. personnel supporting coalition counter-terrorism operations as the Commander, Joint Special Operations Air Component (JSOAC-Africa). Previously, he served on the Joint Staff J-3, Deputy Directorate for Special Operations and Counterterrorism (DDSO) as a Joint Service Officer and Executive Assistant. He has served as weapons officer, evaluator pilot, and on the JSOAC-Iraq staff. Colonel Kirby participated in Operation Irawi Freedom as acting squadron commander, 67 SOS. He has participated in Operation Enduring Freedom-Trans Sahara, Observant Compass, Southern Watch, and Joint Forge.

Colonel Kirby is married to the former Melissa Rioux of South Portland, ME. They have three daughters, Megan, Emma, and Erin.

1996 Bachelor of Science, Business Administration, Whittemore School of Business & Economics, Durham, NH
2003 Squadron Officer School, in-residence/by correspondence
2006 Master of Business Administration, Touro University, CA
2006 USAF Weapons Instructor Course, MC-130, Nellis AFB, NV
2008 Master of Science, Military Operational Art, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, AL
2009 Joint and Combined Warfighting School, Joint Forces Staff College, Norfolk, VA
2011 Air War College, non-residence
2016 National Defense Fellow, Atlantic Council of the United States, Washington, DC
Rating:  Command Pilot
Flight Hours: More than 3,100
Aircraft Flown:  -3A, T-44A, T-37B, C-130E, MC-130P, Do-328, C-146A, MC-130J, MC-130H
27th Special Operations Wing Squadron of the Year, 2013
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Medal
Aerial Achievement Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Force Achievement Medal
352nd SOG Company Grade Officer of the Year, 2004
Second Lieutenant May 1996
First Lieutenant June 1998
Captain June 2000
Major July 2006
Lieutenant Colonel October 2011      
Colonel May 2017
(Current as of June 2017)