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Staff Sgt. Jevon Hairston, the 35th Fighter Wing's dedicated crew chief, switches the name on the wing commander's F-16 to reflect the change in leadership at Misawa Air Base, Japan. Col. David Stilwell took command of the wing and the base Monday from Col. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy.

Staff Sgt. Jevon Hairston, the 35th Fighter Wing's dedicated crew chief, switches the name on the wing commander's F-16 to reflect the change in leadership at Misawa Air Base, Japan. Col. David Stilwell took command of the wing and the base Monday from Col. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy. (Jennifer H. Svan / S&S)

Staff Sgt. Jevon Hairston, the 35th Fighter Wing's dedicated crew chief, switches the name on the wing commander's F-16 to reflect the change in leadership at Misawa Air Base, Japan. Col. David Stilwell took command of the wing and the base Monday from Col. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy.

Staff Sgt. Jevon Hairston, the 35th Fighter Wing's dedicated crew chief, switches the name on the wing commander's F-16 to reflect the change in leadership at Misawa Air Base, Japan. Col. David Stilwell took command of the wing and the base Monday from Col. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy. (Jennifer H. Svan / S&S)

U.S. Forces Japan and Fifth Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Edward Rice, left, presents the 35th Fighter Wing guideon to Col. David Stilwell, center, during a change-of-command ceremony Monday at Misawa Air Base, Japan. Stilwell took charge of the wing and the base from Col. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, standing at right.

U.S. Forces Japan and Fifth Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Edward Rice, left, presents the 35th Fighter Wing guideon to Col. David Stilwell, center, during a change-of-command ceremony Monday at Misawa Air Base, Japan. Stilwell took charge of the wing and the base from Col. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, standing at right. (Jennifer H. Svan / S&S)

Col. Robert Craig, left, 35th Fighter Wing vice commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Lawrence January, 35th Mission Support Group chief enlisted manager, participate in a change-of-command ceremony Monday at Misawa Air Base, Japan.

Col. Robert Craig, left, 35th Fighter Wing vice commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Lawrence January, 35th Mission Support Group chief enlisted manager, participate in a change-of-command ceremony Monday at Misawa Air Base, Japan. (Jennifer H. Svan / S&S)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — The 35th Fighter Wing welcomed a new leader to its fold with the arrival of Col. David R. Stilwell.

In a change-of-command ceremony staged in Hangar 949 on a rainy Monday morning, Stilwell took the wing’s reins from Col. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy.

O’Shaughnessy bid farewell to his airmen and to local Japanese leaders and friends after 19 months as base commander.

The mission, people and community "make Misawa a truly special place," O’Shaughnessy said, choking up and pausing briefly. "I thank all of you for the honor to be your commander."

Lt. Gen. Edward Rice, U.S. Forces Japan and Fifth Air Force commander, decorated O’Shaughnessy with the Legion of Merit Award.

Rice highlighted, among other accomplishments during O’Shaughnessy’s tenure, the wing’s high marks on an Operational Readiness Inspection and a 25 percent reduction in alcohol-related and other incidents involving base personnel in 2007.

Rice also gave a warm welcome to Stilwell, noting the colonel has an advanced degree in Asian studies and graduated at the top of his pilot training class.

Stilwell is no stranger to the Pacific region. He served as the Pacific Air Forces Demonstration pilot while previously stationed at Misawa and did tours at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea and at U.S. Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii, according to Rice.

"It is great to be back," Stilwell said.

Stilwell most recently commanded the 57th Adversary Tactics Group, 57th Wing, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

At Misawa, he’ll command more than 4,000 personnel, spread throughout two F-16 fighter squadrons and 35 support agencies. His duties also include overseeing a base of about 13,000, including family members.

O’Shaughnessy next will command the 613th Air and Space Operations Center for 13th Air Force at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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