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New commanding general takes over Marine Corps air wing with unit at Camp Pendleton

Major Gen. Kevin Iiams assumed command of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Friday, July 13, during a ceremony held on the flight line at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

U.S. MARINE CORPS PHOTO

By ERIKA I. RITCHIE | The Orange County Register (Tribune News Service) | Published: July 17, 2018

MIRAMAR — Major Gen. Kevin Iiams assumed command of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Friday, July 13, during a ceremony held on the flight line at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

Iiams took over the 14,200-strong wing from Maj. Gen. Mark R. Wise, who took command of the wing in July 2016.

“We’re going to focus on the things that have always made this MAW great,” Iiams told those gathered. “Let’s fix, fly, fight, blend a little bit of fun into that, and then stick to the things that have always made this MAW great — operational excellence in all that we do.”

Under Wise’s command, the 3rd MAW — with units at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Camp Pendleton and Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. — focused on readiness. The 14,000 Marines and 200 sailors constantly deployed around the world.

Wise also worked to modernize the wing by overseeing the first three operational F-35 Lightning II squadrons and the final transition from the AH-1W Super Cobra and UH-1N Huey to the AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom.

“The future is how it continues to improve,” Wise said in an interview prior to the ceremony. “When Gen. Iiams takes the reigns, he’ll take it to an even better readiness state. It has been a tremendous privilege to lead the wing; it’s been the pinnacle of my career.”

Iiams comes from Marine Corps Base Quantico where he served as the commanding general of Marine Corps Training and Education Command.

Prior to his duties in Virginia, Iams was the assistant wing commander of the 3rd MAW. He addressed his troops on Friday saying his return was a bit like “coming home.”

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