New commanding general of 3rd MAW has big shoes to fill

Posted at 4:42 PM, Jul 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-13 19:49:25-04

MCAS MIRAMAR, Calif. (KGTV) - MCAS Miramar's aviation's assets have a new commanding general.

Every two years the proverbial torch is passed, in a ceremony that dates back to the Revolutionary War, according to 2nd Lt. Frederick Walker.

It includes a parade, the Marine Corps. Band, a show of skill and well wishes to the incoming and outgoing Major General.

"You can feel the buzz; you can see it," Walker said.

This particular ceremony was tailored to outgoing Major General Mark R. Wise. The last song before the official ceremony started was "Crazy Train" made famous by Ozzy Ozbourne. A drum kit set on a stage, with a bassist, guitarist, and singer, all to the left of a large red tent where esteemed guests sat.

If you know Wise, you know he loves the Marine Corps. Band., "If you've been to a Marine Corps. Ball, holy cow, they set the standard they set the standard."

Like his compliments to the band, the 3rd MAW (Marine Aircraft Wing) would say he set a pretty high bar for the next commanding general.

"We're flying more now than we have in the last five years," Wise said they've already surpassed their goals for the year and will continue to excel.

"From no F-35s in the Marine Corps to having the first three operational F-35 squadrons in the Marine Corps.," Walker said Wise was transformative to the 3rd MAW, a part of that, bringing in new aircraft to ready the base.

"That's what we say. We are America's 911 force in readiness," Walker said.

Wise said the marines behind him are the reason he vision was fulfilled, "they're the ones that make this happen, they've got to believe it can happen."

In their camouflage, the men and women watched the exchange of command, at attention. The action took a few seconds, carrying with it a tremendous weight. New Commanding General Kevin M. Iiams took control of the MCAS aircraft, responsible for every flight, and every mission.

He shared this message to his subordinates, "we're going to focus on the things that make this MAW great. Let's fix, fly, fight, blend a little bit of fun into that and then let's stick to the things that have always made this MAW great, operational excellence in all that we do and an intelligent aggression in all that we do when we go ahead and fly and fight this MAW. Semper Fidelis, God Bless, and Semper 3rd MAW."

Wise will go to Washington D.C., where he will work under Marine Corps Combat Development Command. He took command of the 3rd MAW July 22, 2016.

Both Wise and Iiams served in Desert Shield/ Desert Storm, and are highly decorated for their service.

The parade is not just part of the tradition and ceremony, it demonstrates the training each marine has undertaken, and shows they are ready for battle, if the need arises.