New leader takes command of Pacific Air Commandos in spite of typhoon evacuation

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Aaron Cram
  • 353rd Special Operations Group
Not even a typhoon can keep the Pacific Air Commandos from carrying out their mission. Today's mission was to change leaders.

On Aug. 5, two days after evacuating Kadena Air Base for Typhoon Mufia, Col. Brad Sullivan accepted command of the 353rd Special Operations Group from Col. Robert Toth in a change of command ceremony here presided by Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel, Air Force Special Operations Command commander. Prior to assuming command, Colonel Sullivan graduated from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Defense College in Rome, Italy. He is a command pilot with over 4,000 hours in multiple aircraft.

Shortly after taking charge of the 353rd SOG, Colonel Sullivan stated that he is humbled, honored and excited to lead the 353rd and is impressed with the unit's operational legacy.

"You have a legacy that spans combat, contingency and humanitarian relief operations," Colonel Sullivan said. "Your unwavering mission execution remains the hallmark of the 353rd SOG. I am confident you will continue to add to your rich legacy while expanding options for senior leadership in the region. It's an exciting time to be a SOF Airman and I look forward to the challenge of employing specialized airpower throughout the Pacific theater."

For the outgoing commander, the event was a chance to highlight the achievements of the 353rd SOG and say thank you to his staff, squadron commanders and all of the men and women who supported the SOG during his command. He specifically highlighted the group's tremendous accomplishments to include earning excellent ratings in four AFSOC inspections within 12 months and efforts during Operation Tomodachi. He also urged the Air Commandos of the Pacific to continue this excellence with Colonel Sullivan at the helm.

"You are gaining a tremendous leader in Colonel Sullivan today," he said. "I look forward to watching you make new history. I bid you farewell and thank you more than I can say."