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361 ISRG holds change of command

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. AJ Hyatt
  • 363d Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Wing
The 361st Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group (ISRG) welcomed a new commander during a change of command ceremony, June 23, 2022 at Hurlburt Field, Florida.
 
U.S. Air Force Colonel John Sullivan assumed command of the group from outgoing commander, U.S. Air Force Col. Timothy Richardson, becoming the eighth commander in the 361st ISR Group’s history.
 
U.S. Air Force Colonel Eric Mack, 363d ISR Wing commander, was the presiding officer of the ceremony.
 
“As we transition the guidon and salute farewell to one exceptional leader, we welcome another, and I can’t think of a person more qualified to lead the group into the future,” said Mack.
 
Sullivan joins the team after serving as the Director of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, Air Forces Strategic – Air and the Chief, ISR Division in the 608th Air Operations Center in Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana from June 2020 to June 2022.
 
Before relinquishing command, Richardson was presented the Legion of Merit.
 
“Despite the drag and friction COVID has had on our Airmen and our mission for the last two years, the list of accomplishments by the 361st under Colonel Richardson’s adroit leadership is breath taking,” said Mack. “The group has advanced dramatically along all of its three main axis: Developing Airmen, Re-imagine the organization, and equip the force with modern and relevant capabilities. This is in no small part to the extraordinary leadership of Colonel Tim Richardson.”
 
Over the last two years, the Airmen of the 361st conducted over 32,000 combat sorties supporting over 790 named operations across four Combatant Commands. The group also played a decisive role in the draw down in Afghanistan and earned the distinction of being the last 16th Air Force Airmen to depart from that country while providing over-watch from AFSOC platforms for the last remaining U.S. and Coalition members on the ground.
 
“It has been my absolute honor to serve you as your commander,” said Richardson. “We engaged and remain engaged even as we speak in combat operations for Central Command. We responded to numerous contingencies in support of Africa Command. We employed new capabilities and set the foundation for what SOF ISR can be across both the Pacific and European Commands.”
 
Richardson also established the group’s first permanent remote operations capability and expanded the ART mental health and chaplain resources by 30 percent over the last two years.
 
“Tim [Colonel Richardson], you continued a tradition of excellence set by the commanders that came before us,” said Sullivan. “Thank you for charting a path forward so that the group can sustain the same experience into the future.”
 
Colonel Richardson will be moving on to serve as the Director of ACC A326/K.
 
“Men and women of the 361st ISR Group, you are fortunate to have two individuals of such caliber serve as your commander,” said Mack. “Despite the leadership change, the one constant in this situation is you. Thank you for the outstanding work you do each and every day in support of our decision makers and warfighters.”
 
After the passing of the guidon and assuming command, Sullivan addressed the audience and shared his thanks to his family and teammates.
 
“To the amazing Airmen of the 361st, we are in a new period of transformation, but this is nothing new for our enterprise,” Sullivan said. Our mission and capabilities have continuously evolved over the past few decades. I am eager to accompany and lead you through this into the next era of SOF ISR capabilities.”
 
The 361 ISRG located at Hurlburt Field, Fla. trains, equips and deploys cryptologists, provides specialized analysis, maintenance, logistics, communications, and cryptologic expertise to execute special operations missions worldwide.

The group traces its lineage back to World War II’s 11th Photographic Group, Mapping. Activated on Dec. 1, 1943 at Reading Army Airfield, Pa. and moved to MacDill Field, Florida on Jan. 7, 1944. The group flew photographic mapping missions in the United States and deployed detachments to carry out similar operations in Africa, the China-Burma-India Theater, the Near East, Far East, Mexico, Canada, Alaska, and the Caribbean. While active, the group flew the B-17, B-24, B-25, B-29, and A-20 and reconnaissance versions of the B-17, B-25, and C-45. The Group disbanded in October 1944.
 
 In the early 1980’s, the Air Force initiated Project Warrior to improve esprit de corps and warfighting as a state of mind among Airmen. As a part of this project, the Air Force sought to preserve the heritage of its distinctive Air Force organizations by realigning and re-designating inactive, but historic units. On July 31, 1985, the Air Force re-designated the 11th Photographic Group (Mapping) as the 361st Tactical Intelligence Group. The group remained inactive.
 
By 2008, the rapid growth of Air Force special operations 361st Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group necessitated a corresponding expansion of the specialized intelligence capabilities provided by the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency (AFISRA, which became 25th Air Force in 2014 and later became 16th Air Force in October 2019). Reflecting the fact that the mission had grown beyond the scope of a single squadron (the 25th Intelligence Squadron), the Air Force directed the activation of a dedicated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance group under which AFISRA would align AFISRA units enabling Air Force Special Operations Command operations.
 
Thus, on 10 October 2008, Headquarters Air Force re-designated the 361st Tactical Intelligence Group as the 361 ISRG and AFISRA (now 16th Air Force) activated the group at Hurlburt Field, Florida, on Oct. 29, 2008, 64 years after its first activation.