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Colonel Eaves takes 131st reins at Wing Change of Command

Col. Ken “Willie B” Eaves accepts the 131st Bomb Wing guidon from Maj. Gen. Gregory Champagne, Air National Guard assistant to the Air Force Global Strike Command commander, during the change of command ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., May 15, 2016. Eaves is now responsible for the Air National Guard’s only B-2 unit, which provides nearly 1,100 combat-ready Citizen-Airmen for both state and federal missions. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Halley Burgess)

Col. Ken “Willie B” Eaves accepts the 131st Bomb Wing guidon from Maj. Gen. Gregory Champagne, Air National Guard assistant to the Air Force Global Strike Command commander, during the change of command ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., May 15, 2016. Eaves is now responsible for the Air National Guard’s only B-2 unit, which provides nearly 1,100 combat-ready Citizen-Airmen for both state and federal missions. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Halley Burgess)

Col. Ken “Willie B” Eaves, 131st Bomb Wing commander, addresses the Airmen of the 131st Bomb Wing as their new wing commander. Eaves is now responsible for the Air National Guard’s only B-2 unit, which provides nearly 1,100 combat-ready Citizen-Airmen for both state and federal missions. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Halley Burgess)

Col. Ken “Willie B” Eaves, 131st Bomb Wing commander, addresses the Airmen of the 131st Bomb Wing as their new wing commander. Eaves is now responsible for the Air National Guard’s only B-2 unit, which provides nearly 1,100 combat-ready Citizen-Airmen for both state and federal missions. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Halley Burgess)

Members of the 131st Bomb Wing salute their new commander, Col. Ken “Willie B” Eaves, at the 131st Bomb Wing change of command ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., May 15, 2016. Eaves is now responsible for the Air National Guard’s only B-2 unit, which provides nearly 1,100 combat-ready Citizen-Airmen for both state and federal missions. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Brittany Cannon)

Members of the 131st Bomb Wing salute their new commander, Col. Ken “Willie B” Eaves, at the 131st Bomb Wing change of command ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., May 15, 2016. Eaves is now responsible for the Air National Guard’s only B-2 unit, which provides nearly 1,100 combat-ready Citizen-Airmen for both state and federal missions. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Brittany Cannon)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- The 131st Bomb Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, has a new commanding officer after a change of command ceremony held during May drill here today.

Previously wing vice commander, Col. Ken "Willie B" Eaves is now responsible for the National Guard's only B-2 unit, which provides nearly 1,100 combat-ready Airmen for both state and federal missions.

Eaves assumed command of the unit from Col. Michael J. Francis, who was recently selected for promotion to brigadier general and was named to be the new assistant adjutant general-air for the Missouri National Guard. Maj. Gen. Gregory Champagne, previous 131st commander, presided over the ceremony on behalf of Maj. Gen. Steve Danner, Adjutant General, Missouri National Guard.

"When he first joined the Guard in '95 I got to know him a little bit. I said he's the hardest working person that I know. I said back then that if he continued on that pace, that someday he would be the wing commander," said Champagne of Eaves. "That someday is today."

Eaves told the wing, standing in formation, that he was honored to be their commander. 

"I cannot think of another group of professionals that I would want to work with more so than you all," he said.  "It is getting difficult for me to keep up with all the great things you do.

"I have had the privilege of having a front-row seat to watch history in the making. Although we are the 8th-oldest unit in the Air National Guard and can trace our lineage back 93 years to 1923, I cannot find a period in time where 131st personnel have persevered and excelled more than you all. 

"When future generations of Mogarians look back in their history, they will celebrate this time. They will celebrate you."