Lexington native to be sworn in as Commander of 343rd Reconnaissance Squadron

Lieutenant Colonel Dominic Gaskin

Lexington native to be sworn in as Commander of 343rd Reconnaissance Squadron
May 26
07:15 2022

 On May 26, just a few days before Memorial Day, North Carolina native Lieutenant Colonel Dominic Gaskin will take command of the 343rd Reconnaissance Squadron. 

Gaskin, who is a graduate of Lexington Senior High School, joined the Air Force in 1996. He said after a few years of college, he decided to make a career change and to enlist. The fact that his father was in the Air Force and his brother was in the Army also played a major role in his decision to join the military. “It (college) cost a lot of money and I couldn’t quite afford it, so after a couple of years I enlisted in the Air Force,” Gaskin said. 

“My dad had served in the Air Force and then my brother served in the Army and he told very specifically not to join the Army, so I followed his advice,” Gaskin laughed. “He just recommended to me that I go to the Air Force … it was a good recommendation and it worked out for me.”

In 2002 Gaskin did finish college and graduated from Troy University. He said it wouldn’t have been possible without the Air Force, where he learned there’s nothing he can’t do. Gaskin said what he has enjoyed most about serving in the Air Force is having the opportunity to work with such a diverse group of people. 

“You meet such a diverse group of people from across the country and really across the world,” Gaskin said. “You meet all these different people from different places and then you’re kinda thrown into things where you get an opportunity from those people and learn about yourself as you execute the missions or whatever the Air Force asks of you.

“It’s really the people that make the Air Force really great.” 

As commander of the 343rd Reconnaissance Squadron. Gaskin will lead a crew of more than 150 men and women, both military and civilian. In large part, Gaskin will ensure men and women are prepared to fly in reconnaissance missions across the world. He said, “I help the young officers be trained and ready, but I also help them administratively reach their goals. I will be helping those young lieutenants and captains grow into the future colonels of the Air Force and the future commanders; that’s my number one mission.”

When he enlisted in 1996, Gaskin said he never imagined that he would be leading an entire squadron. “I don’t think I could’ve imagined it. I entered with the lowest rank that you can have, an E1,” Gaskin continued. 

“The officers that were commissioned seemed so far away I just couldn’t imagine it. But as I started to meet certain goals, the Air Force started to invest more time and money in me.” 

When discussing his hometown, Gaskin said Lexington taught him the meaning of hard work and that has helped propel him to where he is today.  

“Lexington is a working man’s town so you have to stay on the grind, you can’t stop even though things are tough and sometimes they are tough … it’s not all cupcakes and rainbows,” Gaskins said. “And the Air Force is the same way … there’s always work.”

Gaskin will be sworn in as Commander of the 343rd Reconnaissance Squadron during a special ceremony on Thursday, May 26, in Omaha, Nebraska. 

Editor’s Note: The Chronicle would like to take this time to honor and remember the sacrifices of the men and women who gave their all while serving and protecting our country.  Happy Memorial Day!

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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