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Eaves Assumes Command of 131st Bomb Wing's Operations Group

Lt. Col. Ken Eaves receives the guidon and assumes the role of the Operations Group commander from Col. Gregory Champagne, 131st Bomb Wing commander, during a change of command ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base, May 2. (Photo by Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison)

Lt. Col. Ken Eaves receives the guidon and assumes the role of the Operations Group commander from Col. Gregory Champagne, 131st Bomb Wing commander, during a change of command ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base, May 2. (Photo by Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison)

WHITEMAN AFB -- Lt. Col. Ken Eaves assumed the position of Missouri Air National Guard's 131st Bomb Wing Operations Group commander from Col. Michael Francis in a change of command ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base May 2 at 1:31 p.m., in Missions End.

Prior to taking his new position, Colonel Eaves served as the 110th Bomb Squadron Commander. It doubles his responsibilities as well as the number of Airmen.

"I am basically responsible for care and feeding all the folks that directly support the flying mission, minus the maintenance personnel," Colonel Eaves said.

He is excited about his new position as he has some "top-notch" leaders that will contribute greatly to the success of the group. His job will be to drive the direction of the group rather than the day-to-day operations of it.

There are three reasons Colonel Eaves said he decided to move forward and become the new group commander. The first is that it is the next logical career progression for him. Second, this move also offers him the ability for promotion.  Finally, and most importantly, the position offers him new challenges.

"This is definitely another challenge I am looking forward to," Colonel Eaves said. "I didn't want to give up the Bomb Squadron but I'm excited about this new opportunity."

The OG is 48 Airmen strong and includes pilots, intelligence, aircrew flight equipment, flight records, crew communication and administration.

Colonel Eaves joined the Georgia Air National Guard in 1989 where he flew F-15 Eagles until the unit converted to the B-1 Lancer. He elected to make the move to the Missouri Air National Guard in 1995 to fly F-15s out of Lambert Airfield in St. Louis.

When the 131st Fighter Wing decided to convert to the B-2 Spirit Bomber mission, Colonel Eaves chose to convert as well. He decided the mission to transform the fighter wing in St. Louis to the 131st Bomb Wing at Whiteman was his calling.

"The ability to build something from scratch was the biggest draw for me to come here," Colonel Eaves said. "We were given a blank slate and permission to build the mission the way it needed to be built. We believe we built something extraordinary and that makes us want to lead this organization."

Colonel Eaves is a 1983 graduate of Klein Forest High School in Spring, Texas. He is a 1987 graduate of LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, where he received an associate's degree in aviation maintenance technology and a bachelor's degree in aviation technology.

His wife of 21 years, has supported him throughout his career, as well as their children.  They currently reside in Knob Noster, Missouri.

"I'm excited about my new job," Colonel Eaves said. "The people in my organization are phenomenal and the people of the 509th Bomb Wing are supportive and wonderful to work with. I don't think I could pick a better job."