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
"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