MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, SC -- Col. Robert Walsh relinquished command of Marine Aircraft Group 31 to Col. William Beydler during a change-of-command ceremony here May 25.
Walsh, who was recently selected for promotion to the rank of brigadier general, has been the commanding officer of MAG-31 since June 18, 2004. He will transfer to Headquarters Marine Corps to assume responsibilities as Assistant Deputy Commandant for Aviation.
“It’s been my deepest honor and privilege to serve this great MAG,” Walsh said. “I think it’s the most cherished moment that I’ve had, being here as (MAG-31) commander.”
Beydler, who most recently served with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Headquarters, anticipates this is going to be the best job he could have.
“I can tell you that as a professional Marine officer, the greatest call one can have is to command Marines when this nation is at war,” Beydler said. “There is nothing I will not do to accomplish the mission.”
Beydler entered the Marine Corps in 1981 after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy. Upon completing primary flight training, Beydler earned his Wings of Gold in September of 1983.
Beydler is no stranger to the Lowcountry, this will be his third tour of duty here.
After completing F-4 Phantom transition training at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., in 1984, he reported to MCAS Beaufort and joined the Crusaders of VMFA-122. Beydler remained with the squadron, as it became the second MAG-31 squadron to transition to the F/A-18 aircraft.
While a Crusader, he held several billets in both the aircraft maintenance and operations departments. Beydler spent his last two years, of the five years with the squadron, as the squadron weapons and tactics instructor.
In August 1990, Beydler was temporarily assigned with VMFA-333 for Operation Desert Shield.
In 1993, he returned to MCAS Beaufort and was assigned to the MAG-31 Headquarters as the group Weapons and Tactics officer. Beydler then joined the Thunderbolts of VMFA-251 as the Aircraft Maintenance Officer in the summer of 1994.
One year later the squadron deployed on the USS America as a part of Carrier Air Wing One and participated in operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iraq.
Beydler reported to 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Headquarters in July 2005, and deployed to the United States Central Command Combined Air Operations Center in Al Udeid, Qatar, as the Marine Liaison Officer. He returned to 2nd Headquarters MAW in February.
Throughout his career, Beydler has accumulated more than 3,500 flight hours in tactical jet aircraft with nearly 3,000 in the F/A-18. His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with three Gold Stars, the Air Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with a Gold Star.
With the squadrons of MAG 31 constantly deploying, Beydler believes readiness is the main goal of the MAG.
“We will be the ready group to support the nation’s ready force,” said Beydler. “I look forward to challenges and the opportunities ahead. And we will accomplish any mission that we are assigned.
“To the Marines and sailors, I can promise you but one thing,” Beydler said. “I will give you my very best effort… you can count on it.”