Townsend takes command of 354th Fighter Wing

  • Published
  • By 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
  • 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 354th Fighter Wing held a change of command ceremony as U.S. Air Force Col. David J. Berkland relinquished command to U.S. Air Force Col. Paul P. Townsend, 354th Fighter Wing commander, June 22, 2023. 

The ceremony was attended by military and civilian leaders from throughout Alaska as well as family members and friends of Berkland and Townsend.

“Today we will mark the formal transfer of authority from one commander to the next, ensuring this organization, and these Airmen, are never without leadership,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. David Nahom, commander of Alaskan NORAD Region, Alaskan Command and 11th Air Force.

Townsend, a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, recently served as the Vice Commander of the 48th Fighter Wing at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England.

“My charge to you, Klaxon (Townsend), is to propel this wing even further in terms of credible combat airpower and power projection in the two most strategic regions in the world today–the Indo-Pacific and the Arctic–where our challenges come from the physical environment and two peer competitors,” said Nahom. “I'm excited to see what you do with this opportunity.”

Eielson's mission is to provide combat-ready forces to the warfighter while maintaining the base's readiness, resiliency, and infrastructure. The 354th Fighter Wing is composed of more than 3,000 Airmen and is home to Alaska’s F-35A Lightning II aircraft.

“On the ramp, we have partners and allies sharpening their war fighting skills in our Air Force’s premiere training event on the nation’s best training range,” said Townsend. “At the front of the hangar, we have an F-35, our nation’s premiere 5th generation fighter, and the F-16, a venerable workhorse that not only provides world-class, professional adversary air but also protects our homeland when called upon. And finally, we have a formation of our most important asset, our American Airmen. I’m excited and humbled to lead and serve with this amazing team. Valor in Combat.”