Military News

Friday, April 03, 2015

Team Kadena welcomes new 18th Wing commander

from 18th Wing Public Affairs

4/2/2015 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Brig. Gen. James B. Hecker relinquished command of the 18th Wing to Brig. Gen. Barry R. Cornish during a change of command ceremony at Kadena Air Base April 2.

Lt. Gen. Sam Angelella, U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force commander, presided over the event held inside a hangar where Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and distinguished U.S. and Okinawan guests helped to welcome the new commander.

"It's an honor to participate in today's change of command as we close out one chapter in the storied history of the 18th Wing and open another one with the transfer of leadership from Brig. Gen. James Hecker to Brig. Gen. Barry Cornish," Angelella said.

Angelella described how developing the U.S.-Japan partnership into one of the most relevant and powerful alliances in modern times has required the hard work and
dedication of both American and Japanese personnel.

"Kadena Air Base and the 18th Wing have been a significant part of that effort," Angelella said. "For the past two years, the 18th Wing has continued a tradition of excellence and strengthened our alliance with Japan under the exceptional leadership of General Hecker."

Hecker was selected for promotion to major general and reassignment as director of plans, programs, and requirements for Headquarters Air Combat Command at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

"It was only a short time ago when I was up here receiving this flag, and now, I have to return it -- something no commander wants to do. The only thing that provides me some solace is that I am giving up command to a great team, Team Cornish," Hecker said.

After accepting the guidon from Angelella, Cornish addressed his new family, Team Kadena.

"My commitment to you is simply this, I will work as hard as I can every day to help you execute our critical mission," Cornish said. "Countless lives depend on what you do every day."

He said the number of lives increases when the 18th Wing is called to respond for a humanitarian crisis or cast in the path of conflict should deterrence fail, and that his job is to ensure Kadena emerges victorious and brings everyone home.

Cornish most recently served as the executive officer, Pacific Air Forces at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. He is a command pilot with more than 2,200 flying hours in the F-15, AT/T-38 and T-37, and is a graduate of the USAF Weapons School. Cornish also commanded the 67th Fighter Squadron, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, in 2008.

During his closing remarks, Cornish expressed what an honor it was to be back at Kadena and to be able to serve the United States in a partnership capacity with friends here in Okinawa at such a pivotal time in history.

"You are the key to success in this mission and I work for you," Cornish said. "Missy and I appreciate you all being here today. Thank you and God bless."

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