Col. Paige Abbott takes command of 225th Support Squadron

  • Published
  • By Capt. Kimberly Burke
  • Western Air Defense Sector
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Col. Paige Abbott formally took command of the Washington Air National Guard's 225th Support Squadron during an assumption of command ceremony Jan. 29 at the Western Air Defense Sector (WADS) at McChord Field. Col. William Krueger, 225th Air Defense Group (ADG) commander, officiated over the ceremony.

In her first address as the new commander, Abbott highlighted Washington state Assistant Adjutant General – Air Brig. Gen. John Tuohy’s priorities for the Washington Air National Guard: Mission, accountability and people (MAP).

“I know well the great responsibility of being a commander,” said Abbott. “The leadership team at WADS takes those tenants very seriously. We take them into account when we are making decisions on our federal and state missions, when we are looking for the best career development moves for our people and how we manage our resources.”

As the outgoing 225th Air Defense Squadron commander, Abbott discussed the changing challenges in the asymmetrical homeland defense mission and the new strategic threats the operators and maintainers are faced with due to new mission systems and platforms, especially in a resource restrained environment.

“I am extremely proud to have been your commander, and I know that you are paving the road ahead for the Washington Air National Guardsmen that will follow you,” explained Abbott. “I know that you will make us proud and you are setting the bar high.”

Abbott then turned her attention to the members of the 225th Support Squadron for which she took command and explained how proud and humbled she is to be able to lead a team that is the bedrock of the homeland defense mission set.

“The support tasks are what allow the members of the 225th ADS and all of the Western Air Defense Sector to be successful,” said Abbott.

“We will always be known as the Western Defense Sector,” concluded Abbott in her closing remarks.

She emphasized that WADS is truly one team, even though it is made up of one group with two distinct squadrons.

The 225th Support Squadron is a subordinate unit of the 225th Air Defense Group. The 225th ADG conducts the mission of the Western Air Defense Sector. WADS is headquartered on Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state and is staffed primarily by full-time Washington Air National Guardsmen and a Canadian Forces detachment. The unit supports NORAD's integrated warning and attack assessment missions and the U.S. Northern Command's homeland defense mission. WADS is responsible for air sovereignty and counter-air operations over the western United States and directs a variety of assets to defend 2.2 million square miles of land and sea.

Abbott is specifically responsible for maintenance of the systems providing constant air sovereignty command, control and communications from Minnesota, west along the Canadian border, down the Pacific Coast and along the Mexican border from California to Mississippi. These systems include 195 joint-use sensors, tethered aerostats, communications infrastructure, a classified network control center and multiple command and control mission systems throughout the Battle Control Center. She is also responsible for facility and power plant maintenance, operations and security.

Abbott is a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) at the College of the Holy Cross, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology in 1990. After five years of active duty service in the Air Force, she joined the Washington Air National Guard in 1996.

Abbott is a Master Air Battle Manager and has deployed and supported Operation Support Sovereignty and Operation Support Justice IV, where she served as Detachment Four commander. Since 2001, she has been leading personnel in the homeland defense Operation Noble Eagle mission. Prior to assuming her current position, she served as 225th Air Defense Squadron commander for the Western Air Defense Sector.