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Western Air Defense Sector

"Guarding America's Skies"

The Western Air Defense Sector, with headquarters at McChord Field , Washington State, is the largest of three sectors responsible to the Continental U.S. North American Area Defense Region - First Air Force (CONR-1AF) and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) for peacetime air sovereignty, strategic air defense, and airborne counterdrug operations in the continental United States. WADS is a Washington Air National Guard unit which operationally reports directly to First Air Force at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. WADS is one of two sectors responsible to NORAD's aerospace warning and control mission.

The men and women of the Western Air Defense Sector detect, identify, track and can scramble fighters to intercept unknown or threatening airborne objects as part of their mission to guard America's skies 24 hours a day, seven days a week of nearly 73% of the United States and Canada.. Our team is a bi-national and joint service unit. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Canadian Forces personnel, DoD civilians, and government contractors all comprise the WADS team. Only about 20 percent of the Western Air Defense Sector team are traditional Air Guardsmen who serve one weekend per month and two weeks a year.

WADS Mission:

FEDERAL MISSION: The Sector’s primary mission is “Guarding America’s Skies.” This 24/7 role involves the use of radar and communications systems to monitor air traffic from the Mississippi River west to the Pacific Ocean, and from the Canadian border south to the Mexican border. The Sector reports to Air Combat Command and NORAD in its federal role.

STATE MISSION: WADS reports to the Governor through the Washington National Guard headquarters at Camp Murray. The Sector works with state agencies to provide rapid response in the event of natural or manmade disasters, and participate in disaster preparedness exercises. The Sector is able to provide an air picture to help in rescue operations in the event of disasters.


WADS Chain of Command:

Commander – Colonel Gregor Leist

Vice Commander – Colonel William Krueger


Legend of "Bigfoot"

History of the Western Air Defense Sector

Western Air Defense Sector in the community

Contact the Western Air Defense Sector

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