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8th Fighter Wing welcomes Kasarskis back to the Pack as ‘Wolf’

  • Published
  • 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The Wolf Pack welcomed Col. Peter E. Kasarskis as the 8th Fighter Wing commander during a change of command ceremony at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, June 7.

Assuming command from Col. Matthew C. Gaetke, Kasarskis previously served as the deputy commander, 354th Fighter Wing, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.
Kasarskis is a command pilot with more than 3,300 flying hours, primarily in the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Kasarskis is no stranger to the Wolf Pack, having served as a member of Kunsan’s 35th Fighter Squadron from 2005-2006.

Lt. Gen. David R. Iverson, Seventh Air Force commander, presided over the ceremony. In his remarks, Iverson highlighted the warfighting legacy of the 8th FW and provided an outlook on how the wing will continue to advance under Kasarskis’ leadership.

“A few things may have changed since you were last here, but the warfighting focus remains the same,” said Iverson.“There is no doubt that the leadership and initiative you have demonstrated throughout your career have prepared you for this moment and will help you propel the Wolf Pack to even greater heights.”

Iverson also acknowledged the leadership and accomplishments of Gaetke, as his time with the 8th FW concludes.

“Your team has been instrumental in increasing our combat capability, and under your command the 8th FW heritage has been enriched,” said Iverson.

Under Gaetke’s leadership, the Wolf Pack honed airpower generation across the Indo-Pacific region including flying in the first trilateral U.S., ROK, Japan training missions and the wing’s first off-installation ACE exercise. The 8th FW also executed several readiness evaluations and received recognition for its operational success.

After accepting the guidon, and officially becoming “Wolf 65,” Kasarskis spoke to the Airmen of the 8th Fighter wing about his vision to operate as “one wing,” calling for increased interworking and efficiency between units. Kasarskis also reaffirmed his commitment to fulfilling the wing’s long-standing mission.

“For decades the 8th Fighter Wing mission has inspired generations of Airmen, said Kasarskis. “While the mission is the same from when I was here 19 years ago, I assert that our importance today is much greater. Air Force leadership demands that we follow through with accelerating change, and we will do so as one fighter wing.”

Under 7th Air Force, Kasarskis will serve as the U.S. Forces Korea Area VI commander for more than 7,000 Air Force and Army personnel. As the 8th FW commander, he is responsible for leading daily operations of 3,200 active-duty personnel and civilians, working with regional allies to ensure the safety and defense of the Republic of Korea.