Luke welcomes new commander

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Brig. Gen. Gregory Kreuder, 56th Fighter Wing commander, provides remarks after assuming command from Brig. Gen. Todd Canterbury, 56th Fighter Wing outgoing commander (far right), during the 56th FW Change of Command ceremony, May 27, 2020, at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. Change of Commands are historic ceremonies that honor the achievements of outgoing commanders and pass leadership to incoming commanders. The 56th FW commander oversees the operations of the base including training, safety and wellbeing of Airmen. (Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Leala Marquez)
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Airmen at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., welcomed their new wing commander May 27, 2020 as Brig. Gen. Gregory Kreuder took command of the 56th Fighter Wing from Brig. Gen. Todd D. Canterbury.

Kreuder, a command pilot with more than 2,900 flying hours, including 350 combat hours, arrives at Luke from U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq, where he served as Senior Defense Official, Defense Attach.

Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, 19th Air Force commander, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, delivers a speech during the 56th Fighter Wing Change of Command ceremony, May 27, 2020, at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. Wills officiated the ceremony in which command of the 56th FW was transferred from Brig. Gen. Todd Canterbury to Brig. Gen. Gregory Kreuder. The 56th FW commander oversees the operations of the base including training, safety and wellbeing of Airmen. (Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Leala Marquez)

He was commissioned in 1995 as a distinguished graduate of officer training school after earning a Bachelor of Science from Rice University and a Master of Science from the University of Texas.

“To the men and women of the 56th Fighter Wing, I am truly honored and humbled to be your commander,” Kreuder said. “My number one job is to take care of you and your families while we train the world’s greatest fighter pilots and combat ready Airmen together. You already have my full trust and confidence; I will do my best to earn yours.”

Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, commander of 19th Air Force, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, officiated the ceremony and highlighted Canterbury’s many accomplishments at Luke.

Canterbury is well known throughout our Air Force,” Wills said. “[He’s] an outstanding leader with compassion for Airmen, fighter pilot, combat veteran, Thunderbird, weapons officer, two-time wing commander and one of the Air Force’s true experts on fifth-generation warfare.”

Wills continued to praise Canterbury for his leadership during his tenure at the wing, and presented him with a Distinguished Service Medal.

Brig. Gen. Todd Canterbury, 56th Fighter Wing outgoing commander (right), salutes Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, 19th Air Force commander, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, May 27, 2020, during the 56th FW Change of Command ceremony at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. Change of Commands are historic ceremonies that honor the achievements of outgoing commanders and pass leadership to incoming commanders. The 56th FW commander oversees the operations of the base including training, safety and wellbeing of Airmen. (Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Leala Marquez)

“I would like to turn the attention from me to the men and women from the 56th FW,” Canterbury said. “I, as their [outgoing] commander, would like to reverse the roles as my last duty in the Air Force, I would like to salute them. They are the ones responsible for turning my vision into a reality.”

Canterbury retires after 27 years of serving in the Air Force.

Wills welcomed Kreuder, who’s known as ‘Freddy,’ and his wife Nancy, to the team.

“Freddy has an incredible track record of success as a fighter pilot, as a strategist, as a diplomat, [and he] studied at our finest institutions,” Wills said. “I’ve worked with him in USAFE, PACAF and the Middle East in Bagdad and I can attest that there’s no finer officer to take the helm here at Luke. I’ve been most impressed by Freddy’s calm demeanor, keen intellect and his thoughtful, collaborative approach to leadership. There’s no doubt in my mind he’s the perfect leader to take the flag today here.”

As the change of command concluded, Kreuder emphasized his vision regarding the role of Airmen at Luke.

“We can have the most advanced aircraft and technology in the world, but it is you, our Airmen, who remain our greatest weapon, an asymmetric advantage, over any adversary that challenges us,” Kreuder said.

 

 

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