4 RS “Crows” Return from Annual Deployment

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Divine Cox
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs

After spending over 120 days deployed to Yokota Air Base, Japan, the 4th Reconnaissance Squadron “Crows “and its RQ-4 Global Hawks have returned to their home station of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

The 4 RS deploys annually from Guam to Japan in order to avoid the seasonal typhoon weather common in the Indo-Pacific during the summer months. This year, the Crows were able to fly an impressive 65 effective combat missions, with each sortie often exceeding 24 hours in duration.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the Crows,” said Lt. Col. John Wright, squadron commander assigned to the 4 RS. “The trouble and challenges these guys handle goes completely unrecognized by a lot of people due to our low profile nature, but between preparing our personnel, organizing and delivering all of our equipment, getting the RQ-4 aircraft to Japan, interfacing with the local airlift wing, and then bringing it all back, the Crows spend all year getting ready to go or getting ready for the next deployment. These guys make it look easy.”

The 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota AB hosts the 4 RS each year, and the Crows seamlessly integrate into base life when they arrive.

“The 374th folks are tremendous,” said Wright. “Not once have they ever let us down in providing the support we need to carry out this critically important national-level mission. Our hats are off to them.”

The squadron successfully deployed over 120 personnel from May to October of this year, and navigated a Japan facing difficult COVID-19 countermeasures. This summer saw a Japan completely closed to non-military travelers for the entire duration of the Crows’ deployment, to include 4 RS dependents and family members.

“Regardless of where the 4 RS is located in the pacific, we remain ready to provide crucial strategic intelligence to America’s senior leaders about our regional competitors and adversaries,” said Maj. Cory Turner, director of operations assigned to the 4 RS. “No matter what the environment is, you can put us anywhere and we’ll still get the job done.”

The RQ-4 Global Hawk is a high-altitude intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance remotely piloted aircraft capable of flying missions over 28 hours in duration at altitudes over 50,000 feet. The RQ-4 has been stationed at Andersen AFB, Guam since 2010 and has deployed to Japan nearly every year since 2014.