MCAS Beaufort --
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.