Fightertown welcomes new MAG CO … Col. Brinegar takes command

24 Aug 2007 | Cpl. Monique Smith

Colonel Dave Beydler relinquished command of Marine Aircraft Group 31 to Col. Gregg E. Brinegar during a change-of-command ceremony in the Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533 hangar Aug. 17.

Beydler, who has been selected for promotion to the rank of brigadier general, has been the commanding officer of MAG-31 since May 25, 2006. He will transfer to Norfolk, Va., where he will assume responsibilities as the commanding officer of the Standing Joint Force Headquarters, Joint Forces Command.

"I appreciate the hard work and sacrifice of the Marines and sailors of MAG-31 and the sacrifices made by their families that have allowed us to collectively accomplish our mission while the nation is at war,"Beydler said. "We got it done."

Brinegar, who most recently served as the action officer for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Operational Test and Evaluation Directorate, is ready to take charge of MAG-31.

"I am extremely excited about leading the Marines of MAG-31,"Brinegar said. "This is a very close knit unit and I believe that all of the Marines and sailors here are very proud of serving in a unit with history steeped in the sands of the Pacific Islands.”

Brinegar began his career in the Marine Corps as a second lieutenant in 1983. He reported to Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., in 1984 and was designated a naval aviator in 1985.

This tour won't be the first time in the Lowcountry for Brinegar. In May 2001, Brinegar served as the executive officer for Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 312 and then VMFA-115 before taking command of the Silver Eagles in May 2002.

Brinegar commanded VMFA-115 during Operation Iraqi Freedom in March and April of 2003, while attached to Carrier Air Wing 3, flying from the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman.

"I am very happy to be back in the Lowcountry and have received a very warm welcome back from the friends that I made before leaving three years ago,"Brinegar said.

Throughout his career, Brinegar has accumulated more than 3,500 flight hours in tactical aircraft, to include 800 in the RF-4B Phantom and 2,400 in the F/A-18 Hornet. He is a graduate of the Naval War College and holds a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies. His personal decorations include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star in lieu of third Award, Air Medal with Combat V and four Strike Flight Awards, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat V and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Despite current high operational tempos, Brinegar believes that the Marines and sailors of MAG-31 are ready to continue with the missions at hand.

"Colonel Beydler set many conditions for the success of this unit,"Brinegar said. "I intend to ensure that we keep pressing toward the goals that he set while ensuring that we posture ourselves for the future of providing combat power to the warfighter."