51 FW welcomes new commander
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Charge of the 51st Fighter Wing was put into new hands during a change of command ceremony June 16, 2015, at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea.
During the ceremony, Col. Brook Leonard relinquished command of the 66-year-old fighter wing to Col. Andrew Hansen, the wing's 63rd commander.
The event was presided over by Lt. Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, 7th Air Force commander, who noted the historic importance of the 51st FW's relationship with their Korean partners. O'Shaughnessy praised Leonard's accomplishments at Team Osan, while welcoming Hansen.
"Today we bid (Leonard) farewell, but we also know great things are coming for you in our Air Force," said O'Shaughnessy. "It is a testament to your leadership as installation commander that all the organizations that comprise Team Osan have adopted your motivation, your drive to work hard, to train hard, and to be able to fight together tonight."
Before arriving at Osan, Hansen was Vice Commander of the 35th Fighter Wing, Misawa Air Base, Japan. This is his 17th assignment in a 22-year career. The new commander surmised his focus as taking care of people, continuing to develop leadership, and enhancing already strong community relationships.
"It's a dream come true to become part of such an incredible team and support such an important mission," said Hansen.
Hansen said his command will be a great opportunity to build on the efforts of his predecessors.
"We now have the opportunity to build on the tremendous work of those who came before us," said Hansen. "It's vital that we continue to be prepared to fight and win tonight, to refine our craft, and to make the best better. Mission first, people always, must be our focus."
Leonard, who served as 51 FW Commander since July of 2013, is moving on to work as Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. He reflected on his time at Osan with positivity and pride, remarking that teamwork and courage are the main elements that will keep Team Osan great.
"We have to have courage on the road in front of us on this relentless pursuit of excellence," said Leonard. "Teamwork brings out our best and makes it better... Team Osan, we guarded the freedom of 51 million people. We did so by taking care of the person to our left and every day improving our foxhole and making our best better. It was a true honor to serve with each and every one of you."
The common thread of the change of command was the importance of guarding freedom and the long, and strong, alliance between the U.S. and ROK.
"This alliance is like no other," said Leonard. "We don't share a common border, and we don't share a common language. Our grandparents sacrificed their lives for freedom in and around Osan and around this peninsula because they believed in justice and the rule of law. This alliance stands ready constantly, like no other alliance in the world."