350th SWW Reactivates Two Historic EW Squadrons

350th SWW Reactivates Two Historic EW Squadrons


To meet the Air Force’s growing demand for spectrum effects, the 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing recently reactivated two historic squadrons, the 563rd Electronic Warfare Squadron, in San Antonio, Texas, and the 388th Electronic Warfare Squadron, at Eglin Air Force Base. 

The 563rd EWS’ history dates to World War II, and the unit most recently served as the Air Force’s electronic warfare and navigation officer training squadron. It provided undergraduate training to newly commissioned officers as the 563rd Flying Training Squadron until its deactivation in 2010. 

Many officers at the 350th SWW either served in or were trained by the 563rd FTS. Multiple alumni attended the ceremony, including retired Col. Eric Paulson, former 563rd FTS instructor and former 350th SWW deputy commander. 

“I was honored to be a part of this historic ceremony and see the heritage of the 563rd continue,” Paulsonsaid. “As a previous EW instructor at the 563rd Flying Training Squadron, we saw great capability delivered to the Air Force, and now we’ll see the 563rd Electronic Warfare Squadron deliver essential EW capability to directly to the warfighter.”

The 563rd EWS’ new mission is to design, develop and employ software-based EW capabilities that provide modern capabilities to warfighters. The unit will focus on executing software development, exploring areas for new software initiative, and educating the 350th SWW on software integration. 

The 563rd EWS reactivated on April 25 and Lt. Col. Charles Friesz assumed command. 

“The modern threats we are facing are software defined,” Friesz said. “The 563rd will be the Air Force’s answer to combatting our challenges in the spectrum. The next generation of electromagnetic capabilities will be generated and supported at this unit.” 

One week later, the 388th EWS reactivated on May 2 with Lt. Col. Timothy West assuming command.

The 388th EWS’ history began in World War II with an antisubmarine mission in the Atlantic before being reassigned to the Pacific in support of the Island-Hopping Campaign. It most recently operated as the 388th Electronic Combat Squadron based out of Naval Air Station Whidbey, Washington, flying EA-6B Prowlers until its deactivation in 2010. 

Previous members of the 388th ECS were in attendance for the reactivation, including Col. John Christianson, 350th SWW deputy commander, who served as a flight commander before the unit deactivated. 

“It was amazing seeing a squadron with such history reactivate,” Christianson said. “My time in the 388th during its last iteration was a formative assignment for me as a young captain, and I look forward to seeing all the amazing things are they are going to do this time around.” 

The 388th EWS will focus on weapons and tactics, intelligence, test management and education and training. The 388th EWS will evaluate & assess adversaries’ capabilities and identify their vulnerabilities, informing capability prioritization and development at the wing. 

Focusing on improving the Air Force’s EW capability and driving waveform development, the 388th EWS will ensure warfighters are integrating EW effects into operations in a way that directly increases lethality and survivability of platforms and systems. 

“There is not a single kill chain that does not inherently rely on the spectrum,” West said. “We are weaponizing the electromagnetic spectrum and will punish our adversaries for believing they can rely on the electromagnetic spectrum to achieve their objectives.” 

The 563rd and 388th EWS bring the number of new units at the wing in the past year up to five. This rapid growth reinforces the Air Force’s commitment to prioritizing electromagnetic spectrum operations and the critical role they play in military operations. 

“The 563rd and 388th will allow the wing to deliver the capabilities the Air Force needs to take on the pacing challenge in the spectrum,” said Col. Josh Koslov, 350th SWW commander. “The challenges we face in the electromagnetic spectrum are demanding and we can’t afford to be stagnant.” 

As the Air Force reoptimizes itself for a new strategic environment, the electromagnetic spectrum is the global common that unites all domains of battle. The 350th SWW serves as the Air Force’s most consequential wing in winning its battles of today and tomorrow in the spectrum. 

“If we don’t win in the spectrum, we won’t win at all,” Koslov said. “The 563rd and 388th have provided our forces with strategic excellence in the past, and that’s what we are asking of them again. We’re ruthlessly pursuing spectrum superiority over our adversaries, and the growth we’ve had in the past week is a how we achieve that.” 

By Capt Benjamin Aronson

350th Spectrum Warfare Wing Public Affairs

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