Colonel John Thorne takes command of 363d ISR Wing

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. AJ Hyatt
  • 363d ISR Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force Colonel Eric Mack relinquished command of the 363d Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Wing to U.S. Air Force Colonel John Thorne, during a change of command ceremony, June 21, 2023 here.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Kevin Kennedy, Sixteenth Air Force; Commander, Air Forces Cyber and Commander, Joint Force Headquarters-Cyber (Air Force), Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, was the presiding officer of the ceremony.
As presiding officer, Kennedy mentioned he had three goals: recognize the selfless service of Col. Mack and the Mack family; celebrate the tremendous accomplishments of the 363d, the Target and Analysis Wing, who flourished under Col. Mack’s leadership; and welcome Col. Thorne and the Thorne family to their new role.
“For those who know him well, they describe Col Mack as a genuine leader, a leader who does not take himself too seriously, who forms a connection with the Airmen in the Wing in a way that they understand their individual contributions to the mission,” said Kennedy.
During his speech, Kennedy highlighted that the Wing responded to an increased need for targeting support from all 11 combatant commands, including vital damage assessments supporting EUCOM during the Ukraine Crisis. The Wing also played a key role in Air Force Special Operations Command’s pivot toward near-peer threats, reaching initial operating capability for a re-imagined mission in only one year. They produced insightful analysis and in-depth studies on adversary threats that provided critical intelligence to over 300 Air Force flying units.
“These efforts are a small representation of the 363d tremendous accomplishments the past two years,” Kennedy said.
Before Mack relinquished command, he was awarded the Legion of Merit.
“I’ve been humbled by the opportunity to lead the fantastic team who make up the 363d ISR Wing,” said Mack. “These last two years have been an amazing journey. In my 27 years of service, I’ve never been a part of an organization so committed to each other, to putting the needs of teammates, and the team, above their own, and exemplifying the ideal of service before self.”
Mack thanked his family for their unwavering support throughout his assignments and recognized all the group leadership and the Wing’s operational mission partners, specifically the commanders of the 480th and 70th ISR Wings.
“It’s a been a breath of fresh air to have peers who are willing to partner and not be transactional or parochial in any way,” Mack said. “Thanks for being great teammates. The relationship between our wings has never been stronger and I know that will only continue to improve under JT [John Thorne].”
For the past two years, Thorne has served as the vice commander for the 363d ISR Wing.
“As one leader departs the pattern, another enters,” said Kennedy. “Col. John Thorne [was] already on the Wing’s leadership team as the vice commander, but he will gain new perspective and meet new challenges in the command seat.”
Thorne enlisted in the Air Force in 1995 and served in the Intelligence Operations career field. He graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1999 and earned his commission from Officer Training School in 2000. He is a career intelligence officer with tactical, operational, and strategic-level ISR experience, to include command of the 13th Intelligence Squadron, Beale Air Force Base, California. He is also a Joint Qualified Officer with assignments to the Joint Special Operations Command and the United States Central Command. Additionally, he is a graduate of the National Intelligence University, the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, and the Naval War College.
“To the Lions of the 363 ISRW, one of the easiest things to do is take over a poorly performing organization and take credit for easy fixes,” said Thorne. “I can’t do this with y’all. On a daily basis, the Wing makes America safer by flawlessly executing the nation’s most sensitive missions by providing graduate-level intelligence analysis and training, Targeting, SOF ISR, and intel mission data. So, the best I can do right now is promise not to screw it up.”
As commander of the 363d ISR Wing, Thorne will lead the Air Force's all-source analysis and full spectrum targeting enterprises for Combined Forces Air Component Commanders worldwide, airborne ISR for sensitive joint special operations globally, and directs ISR testing, tactics development, and advanced training for air, space, and cyber operations.
For more information about the 363d ISR Wing, please visit