MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Col. Kristopher W. Struve relinquished command of the 35th Fighter Wing to Col. Jesse J. Friedel at the 35th FW change of command ceremony at Misawa Air Base, Japan, July 13.
Lt. Gen. Kevin B. Schneider, U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force commander, presided over the ceremony and noted the powerful alliance between the U.S. and Japan required hard work and dedication from both American and Japanese personnel. Schneider praised Struve’s accomplishments and contributions in addition to welcoming Friedel into his new position.
“I know the Wild Weasels, our Koku-Jieitai allies and all of Team Misawa are sad to see Struve leave Japan; however, the Air Force has selected an outstanding warrior to lead this incredible team to future success,” said Schneider.
Struve, who served as the 35th FW commander since July 2018, is headed to Colorado Springs, Colorado. During Struve’s parting speech, he acknowledged the hard work and support Misawa Airmen have demonstrated during his two-year tenure.
“Summarizing what this wing has accomplished over the last two years, while I had the pleasure of being here, is no small task,” said Struve. “There were hard days that left us in tears, triumphant days where we rejoiced, days of friendship and partnership and a million memories. Team Misawa, you made it happen.”
Struve also expressed his confidence in Friedel’s skills and said he is handing the command of the 35th FW to the right person.
Friedel served in multiple operational squadrons as an F-16 mission commander, instructor pilot, weapons instructor pilot, and flight evaluator. He also served as the Air & Sea Branch Chief during a joint assignment at the Pentagon. Before arriving to Misawa, Friedel was the vice commander of the 51st Fighter Wing at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea.
“My family and I are honored and excited for this wonderful opportunity to lead the Wild Weasel nation,” said Friedel. “I know I have big shoes to fill, but Team Misawa and I will continue to execute the decisions you made to ensure Team Misawa is healthy and ready to complete military taskings while working to make this base a better place to live. Thank you for the warm welcome.”