A summer of change at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort continued Friday when Marine Aircraft Group 31 installed Col. Michael Cederholm as its new commander.
The group directs the air station's six F-18 Hornet squadrons and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31. Cederholm replaced Col. David Robinson, who spent two years in the post and will retire, in a change-of-command ceremony on the tarmac near MAG-31's headquarters.
"They are the finest men and women anyone could hope to command," Robinson said in his farewell remarks, noting the group's 2,500 Marines and sailors made his final tour of duty among the most gratifying of his 21-year career. "All of the (Marines and sailors of MAG-31) have either deployed or are preparing to deploy to protect America's interest. They have accomplished and achieved every challenging mission we've put on their plate ... often with great personal sacrifice to themselves and their families."
Maj. Gen. Jon Davis, commanding general of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, said none of that would have been possible without Robinson's leadership.
"In the 10th year of a long fight against global extremism, MAG-31 has been the vanguard," Davis said. "The last two years, no group inside the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing has been deployed more than MAG-31, and it's been exceptionally well-led by Dave Robinson. I couldn't ask for anything more."
In May, the base welcomed its new commanding officer when Col. Brian Murtha took over for Col. John Snider as the Marine responsible for the daily operations of the air station and its airfield.
Cederholm arrives at MCAS Beaufort having just served a yearlong stint as the military assistant to the secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition in Washington, D.C.
Cederholm said he has big shoes to fill but knows he and the Marines and sailors now under his command are up for the challenge.
"MAG-31 has flown combat missions since it's very inception in World War II and continues to fly combat missions for Marines in contact with the enemy," Cederholm said. "They do it with a zeal, a dedication, a precision and a lethality that strikes fear into the enemy and should bring a measure of comfort to the moms and dads, husbands and wives, and the children who have loved Marines in harm's way.
"History is not done with us yet. We are America's MAG."
Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/OnBaseBeaufort.