Marine Aircraft Group 31 Commanding Officer Col. William Lieblein passed the leadership baton to Col. Robert D. Cooper on Friday morning at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.
As the new commanding officer of MAG-31, Cooper will oversee the Fightertown's squadrons.
Cooper graduated from the United States Naval Academy and was commissioned as a Marine officer in 1992.
Over the last 23 years, Cooper has devoted his time and service to various flying and staff assignments and instructing and command positions.
Cooper provided leadership at the Navy Fighter Weapons School "Topgun" as an F/A- 18 instructor, senior Marine and assistant department head from 2004 to 2007. In 2012, he commanded Marine Fighter Training Squadron 401 "Snipers" at MCAS Yuma, Ariz.
"It means a lot to be standing in front of you, with you, and for you," Cooper said to the Marines and sailors of MAG-31. "I am extremely honored, humbled and privileged to stand with you, and work for you."
After receiving his degree in industrial engineering from the GMI Engineering & Management Institute, Lieblein was commissioned as a Marine Corps officer in 1989.
He assumed command of MAG-31 in May 2012, after serving as an aviation officer for the Marine Forces Command in Norfolk, Va.
As Lieblein's time as commanding officer came to a close, he reflected on and looked to the future.
"We've made some significant strides over the last two years," he said. "At the end of my command tour, I know I've made MAG-31 stronger, and I know that Col. Cooper will do the same."