Icemen welcome new commander, recognize former commander’s legacy

The Eielson base honor guard presents the colors for the National Anthem during the 354th Fighter Wing change of command ceremony, June 29, 2016, at Eielson Air Force Base. The Icemen Team gathered to welcome Col. David Mineau, the new 354th Fighter Wing commander, and say farewell to outgoing commander, Col. Michael Winkler. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)

The Eielson base honor guard presents the colors for the National Anthem during the 354th Fighter Wing change of command ceremony, June 29, 2016, at Eielson Air Force Base. The Icemen Team gathered to welcome Col. David Mineau, the new 354th Fighter Wing commander, and say farewell to outgoing commander, Col. Michael Winkler. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. David Mineau, the 354th Fighter Wing commander, gives a speech during the wing change of command ceremony, June 29, 2016, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Mineau said it will be the highest honor of his Air Force career to serve alongside the Icemen Team. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Karen J. Tomasik/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. David Mineau, the 354th Fighter Wing commander, gives a speech during the wing change of command ceremony, June 29, 2016, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Mineau said it will be the highest honor of his Air Force career to serve alongside the Icemen Team. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Karen J. Tomasik/Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Russell Handy, the Eleventh Air Force commander, gives as speech during the 354th Fighter Wing change of command ceremony, June 29, 2016, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Col. Michael Winkler, the outgoing wing commander, relinquished command to Col. David Mineau, the new wing commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Karen J. Tomasik/Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Russell Handy, the Eleventh Air Force commander, gives as speech during the 354th Fighter Wing change of command ceremony, June 29, 2016, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Col. Michael Winkler, the outgoing wing commander, relinquished command to Col. David Mineau, the new wing commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Karen J. Tomasik/Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Russell Handy, the Eleventh Air Force commander, passes the 354th Fighter Wing (FW) guidon to Col. David Mineau, the new 354th FW commander, June 29, 2016, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Col. Michael Winkler, the outgoing wing commander, will move on to Yokota Air Base, Japan, to serve as the 5th Air Force vice commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Russell Handy, the Eleventh Air Force commander, passes the 354th Fighter Wing (FW) guidon to Col. David Mineau, the new 354th FW commander, June 29, 2016, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Col. Michael Winkler, the outgoing wing commander, will move on to Yokota Air Base, Japan, to serve as the 5th Air Force vice commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ashley Nicole Taylor/Released)

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --

Farewells and welcomes were heard as hundreds of members of the Iceman Team, community and family members joined Lt. Gen. Russell Handy, the Eleventh Air Force commander, in the Thunderdome to celebrate the 354th Fighter Wing change of command.

 

Col. Michael Winkler, the outgoing commander, relinquished command to Col. David Mineau June 29, 2016.

 

“To the 354th Fighter Wing, it will be the highest honor of my Air Force career to serve alongside the Iceman Team,” said Mineau. “This is a great wing at the top of its peak and I am excited to embark in continued mission success.”

 

Mineau also explained that he was anxious to be involved with the community and thankful of its continued support of the men and women of the 354th Fighter Wing.

 

“I will do everything I can to live up to the trust the community has placed in you,” said Mineau. “I couldn’t be more excited about the relationship Eielson has with all of you and I feel really blessed to be a part of such a friendly and supportive community.”

 

Winkler thanked community partners for their friendship and thanked the wing and tenant units for their hard work during his command. He said he couldn’t take responsibility for the successes without the help of each person.

 

“To the men and women of the 354th Fighter Wing – thank you,” said Winkler. “Thank you for your faith, professionalism and perseverance during the long winters and busy RED FLAG-Alaska seasons. You should be proud of yourselves.”

 

Winkler and his family will move on to Yokota Air Base, Japan, as he becomes the 5th Air Force vice commander, but he assured the Icemen and community that his assignment at Eielson will be a memorable one.

 

“It’s not the mission I’ll remember, it’s the people,” Winkler said. “I look forward to watching each of you and your continued success.”