Shogun-18th Wing change of command
Col. Kenneth S. Wilsbach assumes command of the 18th Wing during a change of command July 9 at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Brig. Gen. Brett Williams relinquished command earlier during the ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Chad Warren)
Kadena welcomes new wing commander

by 1st Lt. Bryan Bouchard
18th Wing Public Affairs

7/9/2009 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Colonel Kenneth Wilsbach assumed command of the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base, Japan during a change of command ceremony here today. 

Lieutenant Gen. Edward Rice Jr., U.S. Forces Japan and Fifth Air Force commander, presided over the event, in which nearly 1,000 Airmen, soldiers, sailors, Marines and distinguished guests from both within the Defense Department as well as local Okinawa communities, were in attendance. 

"Our wing has a strong history of excellence, and we will continue in that tradition and strive to always be the best," Colonel Wilsbach said. "Each one of the airman in the wing is key to that success." 

The colonel took command from Brig. Gen. Brett Williams, who departs Kadena for a position at U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii. General Williams served as commander here from May 2007 until the ceremony today. 

"You know, General Williams was my wing commander at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., a few years ago and now having come from the Pacific Air Forces staff, I have had a few years to watch him and learn from a master," Colonel Wilsbach said about his predecessor. 

The colonel addressed the men and women of Kadena and explained his philosophy for his tenure here. 

"The mission is the number one priority, but the people make the mission happen," he said. "So we will continue where the Williams' left off and do everything we can to take care of Airmen and their families." 

Over the course of the next several days, the colonel will again be addressing the men and women of Kadena through a series of commander's calls, to further inform of his expectations and vision for the 18th Wing. 

"It is an honor to serve the United States in a partnership capacity with our friends here in Okinawa at such a pivotal time in history, and it is an absolute privilege to work with such outstanding people to include members our sister services," Colonel Wilsbach said. "I look forward to what we will accomplish together."