Top “Dawg” flies with SOG

  • Published
  • By Staff. Sgt. Peter Reft
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
The usual items on a 353rd Special Operations Group cargo and passenger manifest can list Humvees, rafts, ATVs, supply drop crates, special forces Army Soldiers, Air Force pararescuemen, a forward area refueling party, or a platoon of Marines armed to the teeth. However, the manifest listed only a single individual for this flight, the 18th Wing commander, Brig. Gen. Barry “Dawg” Cornish.

17th Special Operations Squadron aircrews met with Cornish March 21 to explain how the 353rd SOG contributes to the 18th Wing mission. They also gave him an insider’s look at the MC-130J Commando II’s low altitude flying maneuverability off the coast of Okinawa.

“The mission today is explaining to the general what it is we do and how the equipment contributes to the mission,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. David Benes, MC-130J17th SOS pilot. “When we take him into the air, we can show him how that equipment contributes to missions of the 18th Wing and Air Force Special Operations Command in the Pacific Theater.”

Cornish experienced first-hand the combat prowess of the MC-130J from the back of an open cargo bay and also at the controls of the high-tech cockpit.

“What a great trip it was to go out and see the new MC-130J Commando II aircraft. We got to sit in the back and watch the aircraft do low level flight and it was pretty maneuverable. This was the first time I was able get behind the controls airborne, and it was a real treat,” said Cornish. “It really gave me the chance to see the SOG mission and appreciate what they do, and to let them know how much the 18th Wing appreciates them and the synergy we have.”

The exchange of experience and operations knowledge during flight training enabled Cornish and 17th SOS aircrews to gain additional understanding for the interoperability between the 18th Wing and 353rd SOG.

“It will increase our readiness and our efficiency while giving a real world look for the 18th Wwing personnel flying with us to understand exactly what we do,” said Benes. “That can be further leveraged when it comes to contingency planning and they ask what the 353rd SOG has to offer.”

Team Kadena’s mission to provide peace and stability throughout the Pacific region revolves around counter-air, air refueling, combat search and rescue, strategic forward base command and control, and building partnerships across the Indo-Asia Pacific Theater.

Cornish stated that what the 353rd SOG does every day is no different than the 18th Wing’s mission. He appreciated how the tenant unit contributes assets to the overall mission capability of Kadena.

“Just to see today how the SOG operates was really cool because in any event that we get to train or exercise a bit with both conventional and unconventional forces in a multi-domain environment, it sharpens us and makes us better holistically as an Air Force,” said Cornish. “It lets folks know that, as the Air Force, we are prepared to do anything across any domain.”