Eielson welcomes new fighter wing commander

354 FW CoC

U.S. Air Force Col. Benjamin Bishop, the 354th Fighter Wing commander, renders his first salute to the Airmen of the 354th Fighter Wing during a change of command ceremony July 6, 2018, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. During the ceremony, Bishop said he was looking forward to being part of the Iceman Team, and about heritage of the 354th Fighter Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Isaac Johnson)

354 FW CoC

U.S. Air Force Col. Benjamin Bishop, the 354th Fighter Wing commander, speaks to the Airmen of the 354th Fighter Wing during the 354th Fighter Wing change of command ceremony July 6, 2018, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. During his speech, Bishop spoke about resiliency, innovation and relationships between our allies and partners. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Isaac Johnson)

354 FW CoC

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Ken Wilsbach, the 11th Air Force commander, passes the 354th Fighter Wing guidon to Col. Benjamin Bishop, the 354th Fighter Wing commander, during the 354th Fighter Wing change of command ceremony July 6, 2018, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. During the ceremony, Col. David Mineau relinquished command to Bishop. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Isaac Johnson)

354 FW CoC

U.S. Air force Airmen from the 354th Fighter Wing, change the name on the flagship jet during the 354th Fighter Wing change of command ceremony July 6, 2018, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. During the ceremony, Col. David Mineau relinquished command to Col. Benjamin Bishop. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Isaac Johnson)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Members of Eielson Air Force Base, Fairbanks Northstar Borough community leaders, and distinguished guests gathered at the Thunderdome today to witness the 354th Fighter Wing change of command.

Lt. Gen. Ken Wilsbach, 11th Air Force commander, presided over the ceremony where Col. David A. Mineau relinquished command to Col. Benjamin W. Bishop.

“I know each and every one of you is dedicated to excellence, to mission success and to integrity, which pretty much means all of you work really, really hard,” said Mineau. “I am thankful and proud of each and every member of the Iceman team, civilian, contractor, active duty and families. Thank you for your tireless service.”

The 11th Air Force commander awarded Mineau with the Legion of Merit and also announced that the colonel and his spouse, Amy, were the winners of the 2018 General and Mrs. Jerome F. O’Malley Award.
“It was an honor and privilege to be your commander for the past two years,” said Mineau. “Thank you for making the past two years absolutely the highlight of my 24-year Air Force career.”

The change of command was marked with the ceremonial handover of the 354th FW guidon from Mineau to Bishop, which represented a symbolic, military tradition dating back to the 18th century.

“As Icemen, we stand at the end of a long blue line of pioneering Airmen,” said Bishop, who recalled the accomplishments of Airmen like Carl “Ben” Eielson and the 354th Fighter Group of World War II. “Each of us shares a direct link with these Airmen. We stand on the shoulders of giants. Each of us is now responsible for pioneering the future.”

Bishop joined the Iceman team with his wife and four children from Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., where he served as the 56th Operations Group commander.

“As we look at the world today, we are at the frontier in many respects. We are charged with becoming a more resilient, lethal, and innovative joint force while also building relationships with our allies and partners,” said Bishop. “As Icemen, this charge is baked into our DNA. Every day we prove that it’s possible for resilient Airmen and their families to thrive on the Alaskan frontier.”