Col. Matthew Johnston assumes control of the 56th Operations Group

It’s change of command season here at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.

Brig. Gen. Gregory Kreuder, 56th Fighter Wing commander, served as the reviewing officer when Col. George Watkins relinquished command of the 56th Operations Group to Col. Matthew Johnston on June. 3, 2022.

Johnston, a command pilot with over 2,000 flight hours in the T-37, T-38, AT-38, F-16C/D, and F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, earned his commission from the United States Air Force Academy in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in Management.

Having served as the director of operations for the 388th Operations Support Squadron and as the commander of the 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill AFB, Utah, Johnston says he understands how much squadron commanders have on their plates.

“I see my role as an enabler,” said Johnston. “I want to help eliminate obstacles so squadron commanders, senior leadership, and Airmen can do their jobs.”

This is Johnston’s second assignment to Luke AFB. In 2007, he was an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot evaluator and chief of training for the 309th Fighter Squadron. He says he is impressed with what he has seen while visiting the flight line and is excited to be back in fighter country.

“I really want to see the squadrons accomplish their mission,” said Johnston. “If they’re accomplishing their mission, the group accomplishes its mission.”

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