Official websites use .mil
Secure .mil websites use HTTPS
Kaikkonen began his first assignment after the Aviation Officer Basic Course as Assault Helicopter Platoon Leader, A Co, 2-10 Aviation Regiment, 10th Mountain Division (LI), Fort Drum, New York, in June 2000. In March 2002, he deployed to Afghanistan as an Infantry Brigade Liaison Officer in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The following April, he attended the Aviation Captain’s Career Course and Combined Arms and Services Staff School while en route to his next assignment in South Korea.
In November 2003, he served as the S1 for 2-2 Aviation Regiment before assuming command of A Co, 2-2 Aviation Regiment from May 2004 - May 2005. In June 2005, he was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) (SOAR (A)), Fort Campbell, Kentucky. While he completed Green Platoon, the 4 -160th SOAR (A) moved from Fort Campbell, Kentucky to Fort Lewis, Washington. In Aug. 2006, he became a Platoon Leader in A Co, 4-160th SOAR (A), and progressed to Operations Officer, Assistant S3, Battalion Operations Officer, and Company Commander of A Co, 4-160th SOAR (A) from May 2010 - June 2012. His final assignment with the Battalion was as the S3. Kaikkonen completed eight deployments to OEF during his time with the 160th. In 2013, he joined the Army Reserve.
From August 2013, through December 2015, he served as the Alpha OC/T Team Chief in 2-364th TSBN. In Nov. 2015, he was assignment to the HQs, 104th Training Division, as the G2/G6. He served as the Battalion Commander of 3-414th CST BN, JBLM, Washington from June 11 - July 7, 2019, and as the Evaluations Branch Chief, Army Reserve Aviation Command (ARAC), until June 23, 2021, after which he was assigned as the ARAC G7. His last assignment before accepting command was as Chief, Future Operations for the JECC ARE, Norfolk, Virginia, beginning Feb. 28, 2022.
Kaikkonen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Northern Michigan University in 1999. He is a graduate of the Army War College, Command and General Staff College (CGSC), Great Britain’s Joint Special Operations Air Operations Course, and the Army’s Level-C (High Risk) Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) course.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Army Parachutists Badge, the German Armed Forces Parachutist Badge, the Master Aviator Badge, and the Combat Action Badge. He is rated in the UH/MH-60L, and the CH/MH-47F/G.
Col. Kaikkonen and his wife Darby reside in Washington with their two sons.