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Eaves named commander of Missouri Air Guard 131st Bomb Wing

Colonel Ken “Willie B” Eaves has been named commander of the Missouri National Guard’s 131st Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, April 22, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

Colonel Ken “Willie B” Eaves has been named commander of the Missouri National Guard’s 131st Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, April 22, 2016. (Courtesy photo)

WHITEMAN Air Force Base, Mo. -- Colonel Ken "Willie B" Eaves has been named commander of the Missouri National Guard's 131st Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base.

Eaves has a broad background of experience with varied assignments in the Air Force and he has demonstrated solid leadership qualities, said Maj. Gen. Steve Danner, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard.

"Under his command, the 131st will continue to lead the way with its crucial B-2 mission and provide a community-based force of ready Citizen-Airmen to defend and serve the people of Missouri and the nation," said Danner.

Eaves, who previously served as the wing's vice commander, will replace the wing's current commander, Col. Michael Francis.  Serving as the second in command of the National Guard's only B-2 bomb wing that provides combat capability as part of Air Force's Global Strike Command, Eaves has led the active duty and Air Guard team at Whiteman on numerous occasions during highly visible exercises, and flawlessly executed taskings by higher headquarters in the absence of both 509th and 131st Bomb Wing commanders.  The wing is a classic associate with the 509th Bomb Wing, the only two wings in the Air Force to fly the B-2 Spirit.

The Assistant Adjutant General - Air for the Missouri National Guard, Brig. Gen. Greg S. Champagne, said Eaves reflects the Guard's high standards.

"Col. Eaves demonstrates the caliber of Airman the Missouri National Guard contains," said Champagne. "His vast experience and leadership in key positions throughout the wing will further solidify the Air Guard in the state."

As the wing's previous commander, Francis said he is confident Eaves will lead the 1,100 combat-ready Airmen with much success.

"Col. Eaves' leadership has been a critical component to the 131st Bomb Wing's recent successes from Jefferson Barracks to Whiteman AFB with our Total Force partners, the 509th Bomb Wing," said Francis.  "Col. Eaves is a strong advocate for our Airmen, our mission, and is absolutely the right leader to be the next 131st Bomb Wing commander."

Eaves, who has over 3,440 flight hours in aircraft ranging from the T-37, T-38, F-15, and the B-2, began his military career in the Georgia Air National Guard when he received his commission through the Academy of Military Science.  After completing Undergraduate Pilot Training and F-15 pilot training courses, he served as a drill status and full-time Guardsman in Atlanta until 1995, when he transitioned to the Missouri Air National Guard. Col. Eaves has served in numerous flying positions as both an instructor pilot and commander and has a broad background of experience with assignments in flying operations and wing staff positions. He flew combat missions in Operations "Provide Comfort" and "Northern Watch." 

Additionally, Eaves has a broad background of experience with assignments in flying operations, instruction, safety, wing staff and command positions.

He has been awarded numerous medals, ribbons and other citations, including the Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Achievement Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with four oak leaf clusters, Combat Readiness Medal with six oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.

Eaves is a graduate of LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas and the Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.