JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO–LACKLAND, Texas --
The last 17 months have been a difficult time for Airmen and their families. World events continue to have tangible impacts on readiness and mission execution, enterprise-wide. In spite of the uncertainty, members of the 23d Intelligence Squadron (23 IS) continue to adapt and overcome.
Squadron highlights from the first half of the year include, but are not limited to, a highly-effective Unit Inspection rating, a senior airman receiving 10th Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Bryan Radliff’s first coin in his new position as 10 AF Commander, and being chosen to brief at the U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) Reserve Cyber Summit.
In early June, the 655th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Wing’s inspector general conducted a vertical inspection of the 23 IS’s unit programs. The inspection measured the 23d’s effectiveness in areas such as managing resources, leading people, and executing the mission. The Wing Inspection Team (WIT) spent a week with the unit collecting both quantitative and qualitative assessment data. The WIT uncovered a unit of highly disciplined Airmen, led by an extremely strong senior non-commissioned officer corps that cares about its members and is dedicated to its mission. The hard work and diligence of unit members paid off with an overall inspection rating of “Highly Effective.”
In early July, Maj. Gen. Bryan Radliff, the new 10th Air Force commander, visited San Antonio, Texas to meet the Airmen within his command and familiarize himself with the capabilities in his portfolio. His visit to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland was punctuated by an afternoon of briefings and discussion with members of the 655 ISRW leadership team.
Senior Airman Alexander Byrd, a 23 IS analyst on Military Personnel Appropriation (MPA) orders with the 390th Cyberspace Operations Squadron, was also chosen to provide an operational highlight demonstrating how Air Reserve Component (ARC) Airmen impact mission and seamlessly work alongside the Regular Air Force (RegAF). Byrd was grateful for the experience and the genuine interest shown by Maj. Gen. Radliff and Chief Master Sgt. Jeremy Malcom, the 10th AF Command Chief.
When asked about his experience briefing a Numbered Air Force command team, Byrd said, “My engagement with the 10th AF leadership team was enlightening. I was extremely proud to share my team's successes and challenges.”
Byrd’s briefing highlighted highly complex, work 23 IS members are executing in conjunction with our RegAF partners.
Early August ushered in another victory for the 23 IS. The unit was selected to brief an operational highlight vignette at this year’s Reserve Cyber Summit, hosted by USCYBERCOM.
The Reserve Cyber Summit is a yearly conference intended to bring Guard and Reserve cyber and intelligence professionals, across all services together to exchange ideas and discuss issues affecting the enterprise.
USCYBERCOM’s Guard and Reserve Division solicited operational highlight submissions from across the enterprise, as a way to share operational successes and best practices during the conference. The 23d’s submission was the only Air Force (Guard or Reserve) vignette chosen to be briefed at the summit.
Lt. Col. Nicholas Herald, the unit’s director of operations, who delivered the briefing stated, “The Airmen of the 23 IS continue to make significant contributions to high priority USCYBERCOM missions. This briefing highlighted just how much impact eight of our squadron’s airmen have had this year on a new Task Force. Senior leaders from across the joint cyber enterprise were very impressed with the work they are doing.”
World events since March 2020 have had significant, and lasting, impacts on Airmen and their families. A global-pandemic, an evolving situation in Afghanistan, and many other variables continue to complicate the Air Force’s ability to effectively and efficiently execute its mission.
The first half of 2021 have proved challenging, but the Airmen of the 23d Intelligence Squadron have accepted the challenge and exceeded expectations. The last half of the year will be no different.