MDANG’s 135th Intelligence Squadron Welcomes New Commander

  • Published
  • By Air Force Staff Sgt. Sarah McClanahan
  • 175th Wing

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. John Ippoliti assumed command of the 135th Intelligence Squadron, Maryland Air National Guard, during a change of command ceremony on Feb. 12, 2022, at Warfield Air National Guard Base at Martin State Airport, Middle River, Maryland.

U.S. Air Force Col. Reid Novotny, the commander for the 175th Cyber Operations Group, was the presiding officer of the ceremony at the 175th Wing headquarters building where U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jason R. Barrass, the outgoing commander, relinquished command to Ippoliti.

With the passing of the 135th Intelligence Squadron guidon, first from Barrass to Novotny and then Novotny to Ippoliti, the symbolic military tradition signified the passing of leadership.

“One of the best feelings, when you walk away from command, is to know that it's going to not only be sustained but get better,” said Barrass, who will now transition into his new role as the deputy commander for the 175th Cyber Operations Group. “I have complete confidence that [Ippoliti is] going to take this squadron and do great things well above and beyond what I could do.”

The 135th Intelligence Squadron provides signals intelligence expertise using classified sources to collect information so our Air Force and other partners can make better decisions and prepare either policymakers or warfighters to be more effective. This allows for more effective decisions that achieve America's policy goals or enhance the effective performance of military tasks, explained Ippoliti.

“The Air Force more and more relies on very high-quality information about our potential adversaries to understand what their capabilities are and what decisions our adversaries might make,” said Ippoliti. “So it's my Airman's job to understand our potential adversaries, understand what their military capabilities are, what decisions they make, whether in a conflict or day-to-day, so that [we] can be prepared to counter that.”

The 135th Intelligence Squadron has a total force partnership with their active duty partner, the 70th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Wing headquartered at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, where they support them in meeting some of their mission requirements with integrated teams of active duty and Guard members.

“That really lets us bring some of our experience and our Airman's abilities [and allows them] to stay focused on one mission and really develop expertise and contribute that to the active-duty cyber,” said Ippoliti. “So it's really valuable for us to be able to work with them.”

Not only does the 135th Intelligence Squadron partner with active duty intelligence counterparts, but they also support leadership at the Maryland National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters by providing information capabilities through unclassified source analysis which provides context to current events and enables state leaders to make more informed decisions.

Additionally, Airmen from the 135th Intelligence Squadron have supported other missions across the state and Nation such as serving in non-intelligence support roles for Maryland’s COVID-19 response and Operation Allies Welcome.

The Airmen of the 135th Intelligence Squadron stay busy because their Airmen are eager to volunteer and love the work they do, explains Ippoliti, and their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.

“[To the Airmen of the 135th Intelligence Squadron, I want to say] just how proud I am to be part of the squadron, how much I admire their work and their dedication,” said Ippoliti. “I've been doing intelligence for 17 years, in some way, shape, or form, and they are absolutely the best intelligence squadron that I've ever seen. I don't just say that as their commander, it's really the best that I've seen.”