A new Viper, ready to strike

by Senior Airman Colville McFee
8th Fighter Wing

Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea -- U.S. Air Force Col. Kristopher Struve assumed command of the 8th Operations Group during an assumption of command ceremony July 31, 2017.

Col. David Shoemaker, 8th Fighter Wing commander, presided over the ceremony, and took the opportunity to welcome Struve as the new “Viper” and underscore the accomplishments of the 8th OG Airmen.

“Under the leadership of Col. Struve, the 8th Operations Group will continue to be ready to do the job the Wolf Pack was put here to do; take it north,” said Shoemaker. “Viper, you are taking over an organization firing on all cylinders. Your predecessor ensured you are taking the helm of a high performance organization.”

Struve assumed command of the 8th OG from Col. William D. Betts who took command of the 51st Fighter Wing, Osan Air Base, ROK, last week.

Struve comes to the 8th FW from the National War College in Washington D.C., where he was part of the senior developmental education team.

“Viper comes to us uniquely qualified to lead the men and women of the 8th OG as they prepare and maintain readiness for this fight,” said Shoemaker. “I know Col. Struve is the right man for this job, and I can’t wait to see his impact on the 8th OG and Fighter Wing.”

Shoemaker continued to expand on Struve’s accomplishments and spoke highly about his qualifications for this position.

“Struve has proven his tactical prowess,” said Shoemaker. “He’s attended Weapons School, graduated with a master’s degree in tactics and the Air Force put Col. Struve on a path to senior leadership with a fighter squadron command at Misawa, promotion to colonel and a spot at the National War College in Washington D.C.”

After assuming command, Struve took time to speak with the Wolf Pack about issues in the region and how the 8th FW mission was critical in maintaining the areas stability and security.

“Today, we are at a unique time in the history of the 8th FW as we stand watch on the fence between freedom and tyranny,” said Struve. “Our nation has called upon us to be here and be ready. To those here that support this mission, your effort is invaluable to putting combat power where it is needed. For those of you that fly these machines, we must be ready, sharp and laser-focused on being the best in the world. This wing’s very existence deters our enemies; however, if we are called upon, we will wage war like no other, just like the famous members of the Wolf Pack before us. My job is to help the operations group be ready and ensure you have everything you need. Challenge me. I challenge you to be the very best at what you do.”

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