Wolf 52 Ready to Lead the Wolf Pack
5/20/2012 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- There's a new Wolf in town as Col. John W. Pearse took command of the 8th Fighter Wing last week.
Pearse is no stranger to the Wolf Pack. He was a flight commander and F-16 evaluator pilot assigned to the 35th Fighter Squadron from October 1994 through January 1996 and, while performing duties as the 35th Operations Group commander at Misawa AB, Japan, came to Kunsan in June 2010 to visit his Airmen who were deployed as an 8 FW theater security package.
Having spent more than ten years assigned to Pacific Air Forces' installations, Pearse understands the role 7th Air Force has in keeping the Republic of Korea safe and secure and is ready to learn about how the Wolf Pack is part of that responsibility.
"My focus during the first few weeks is to learn as much as I can about how the 8th Fighter Wing accomplishes the mission and gain situational awareness on the issues facing the Wolf Pack by going through an immersion with each Kunsan organization," he said. "I plan to get out and meet as many members of the Wolf Pack as I can in order to see how we all fit together."
Growing-up in a small town in Iowa, Pearse learned about service before self from his parents and dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot in the Air Force.
"Service was something my parents instilled within me at a young age," Pearse said. "I've been very blessed having been able to fulfill my dream and I feel an immense sense of satisfaction serving something bigger than myself, while trying to make a difference for our Airmen and our country."
A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1988, the colonel has 150 combat flying hours and is a command pilot with more than 3,500 hours in the T-37, T-38 and F-16.
"I'm a firm believer in empowering people; and Patton's quote 'Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity' rings true with me," Pearse said. "I want to focus the wing on where we need to go to accomplish our mission, guide the wing's leadership in that direction and develop our future Air Force leaders through that process."
The colonel said he knows the Wolf Pack was left to him in great shape, but that he is ready to take the 8th Fighter Wing to another level.
"Even great units have room for improvement," Pearse said. "It is the responsibility of every commander to motivate the wing in order to take that next step. I think my four tours in PACAF and recent IG experience can bring a deep understanding and fresh perspective to help sharpen the Wolf Pack's combat capability."
The new commander comes in with the mission, Airmen and stewardship as his top priorities.
"The 8th Fighter Wing's mission to Defend the Base, Accept Follow-on Forces and Take the Fight North is who we are," Pearse said. "In addition to the mission ... we must guide, teach and empower our Airmen in order to develop future Air Force leaders, all while doing the best we can with the resources we are given."
Pearse understands the rich history of the wing and says that the history is one of the reasons professionalism is the standard within the Wolf Pack.
"There's a reputation for mission focus and teamwork throughout the 8 FW," the colonel said. "I'm looking forward to being a part of the Wolf Pack team and building upon traditions."
According to Pearse, balance between the Air Force and his family is what has kept both his marriage and career successful.
"My wife Susane and I have been married for 22 years. We have a 15 year-old son Ian and 11 year-old daughter Michaela," Pearse said. "My family is of the utmost importance to me however, there are times when duty calls us to make sacrifices. I thank my family for their service to our nation and for the sacrifices in family life they have been asked to make with me taking over as 8 FW commander."
Wolf 52 wants all 8th Fighter Wing Airmen to know that he believes in the mission, believes in their abilities and is ready to lead.
"I am very humbled and honored to lead the Wolf Pack," Pearse said. "With the history and incredible Airmen, I promise to do everything within my power to do the best by the Wolf Pack. My vision is to create a Warrior Airmen Wolf Pack Team trained to Fly, Fight and Win with our Joint and Allied Partners in order to Meet Our Nation's Objectives."