Kennish assumes 131st Operations Group command Published April 19, 2016 By Tech. Sgt. Traci Howells 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- The 131st Operations Group officially gained its commander April 17, as Lt. Col. Jared Kennish assumed command of the unit he'd been leading since November 2015. "An assumption of command is a ceremony about leadership," said Col. Michael J. Francis, 131st Bomb Wing commander. "In the case of the 131st Operations Group, it's about a transition from one great leader to another." Francis said that Col. Michael Pyburn, former 131st OG commander, and Kennish, previously the 110th Bomb Squadron commander, had worked together for the last three years, building a unique partnership with their active duty 509th Bomb Wing teammates. Col. Michael Pyburn assumed command of the active duty 509th Operations Group Oct. 24, 2015, following the departure of Col. David Benson, who took a new role as 7th Bomb Wing commander at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. "The 131st Operations Group and their teammates from the 509th execute one of the most critical missions in the United States Air Force," Francis said. "The B-2 and its weapons systems provide capability found nowhere else on the planet. You are the nation's sword." Prior to passing on the group guidon - and with it command of the 131st OG - Francis advised that being a group commander brings about new issues and challenges, and added that Kennish has proven himself ready for, and deserving of, this new responsibility. "There is no way to predict the challenges you will face in your command, but I know two things for certain; there will be good times, and there will be bad times," Francis said. "Handle the good times with grace and humility. And try to handle the bad times the way you handle the good times." In his remarks, Kennish thanked his family and guests, along with the Airmen in his command. "To the men and women of the 131st Operations Group, I would not be here today without your unselfish dedication to our nation's call," Kennish said. "A military member is different, and the legacy that you leave is being part of something bigger than yourselves." "At the 131st we follow the footsteps of some great American patriots. It is an honor for me to serve as your commander," he added.