Photo Information

Col. William Lieblein, the commanding officer for Marine Aircraft Group 31, addresses an audience during MAG-31's change of command ceremony aboard Marine Corps Air Station, May 20. During the ceremony Col. Michael Cederholm relinquished command of MAG-31 to Lieblein after serving as MAG-31's commanding officer for two years.

Photo by Sgt. Marcy Sanchez

Fair winds and following seas

28 May 2013 | Sgt. Marcy Sanchez

Marine Aircraft Group 31 held a change of command ceremony aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, May 20.

Col. Michael Cederholm, who commanded MAG-31 since July 2011, relinquished command of MAG-31 to Col. William Lieblein aboard the Air Station’s flight line.

“Your leadership was in­strumental in making sure that success at MAG-31 and 2nd MAW was at large,” said Maj. Gen. Glenn Walters, the commanding general of 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, as he addressed Cederholm dur­ing the ceremony. “There are a lot of things to thank you for, leadership, being here for the Marines.”

Cederholm commanded over 6,500 Marines and sailors with MAG-31 since assuming command and led the squadrons of MAG-31 through multiple deploy­ments and training exer­cises to deliver aviation sup­port for ground forces.

“I was hoping that instead of a change of command ceremony this morning, you would be here to witness 72 airplanes going off on an Alpha strike to really put the hurting on somebody,” said Cederholm, a native of Camp Lejeune, N.C.

During Cederholm’s ten­ure, MAG-31 accumulated more than 37,400 flight hours and completed more than 26,200 flights, of which 1,100 were carrier based in sup­port of combat operations, all over a two-year period.

“We are forward deployed, we are forward engaged, we create options and space for decision-making leaders,” mirrored Cederholm. “We are ready today, with today’s force.”

Currently MAG-31 is made up of more than 2,800 Marines and sailors as­signed to four Marine fight­er attack squadrons, two Marine all-weather fighter attack squadrons, one Ma­rine wing support squadron and a Marine fighter at­tack training squadron that trains pilots on the Marine Corps’ newest aircraft, the F-35B Lightning II.

During the ceremony Cederholm was awarded with a Legion of Merit with gold star in lieu of second of award for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements as the MAG-31 command­ing officer.

“If I could I would take this medal and split it up 2,836 ways with the Marines and sailors of MAG-31,” said Ce­derholm. “For the last year they have been the Marine Corps’ most combat-ready MAG, they had the high­est aircraft readiness in the Department of the Navy for [F/A-18s].

“I’m humbled to be in the presence of these fine young men and women who we call MAG-31.

Thank you Marines,” con­cluded Cederholm.

After Cederholm’s closing remarks, Lieblein, a native of Jackson, Mich., introduced himself to those present and the Marines and sailors un­der his command.

“I hope you’re ready for an aggressive ride,” said Lieblein.