Air Crew and space operators welcome new commander

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska – Col. Richard Adams assumed command of the 168th Operations Group, Alaska Air National Guard, from Col. Bryan White during a change of command ceremony today inside the unit’s maintenance hangar. Col. Torrence Saxe, commander of the 168th Wing was the presiding officer.

Adams assumed command of the group after serving as the vice commander of the 168th Wing, a position he’s held since April 2017. Prior to his assignment with the 168th, Adams was deputy commander of the 176th Operations Group, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

The 168th Operations Group is comprised of the 168th Air Refueling Squadron and 168th Operations Support Squadron on Eielson, as well as the 213th Space Warning Squadron, located at Clear Air Force Station.

“I have met very few people who have the perfect balance that Rich Adams has,” Saxe said. “He does balance the mission and the people, the art and the science. He will execute the mission, but he will lead the people during that process.”

As commander Adams will be responsible for the successful execution of multiple mission sets that are assigned to the group and space warning squadron, missions ranging from the early warning of ballistic missile attacks against the United States and Canada to supporting global refueling and airlift taskings.

“For me a priority going forward is going to be mission excellence,” Adams said. “If we are not experts in our craft, if we can’t do the mission, then everything else is irrelevant.”

Once assuming command of the operations group Adams took a few minutes to thank both White and Saxe, thanked the leaders of the 354th Fighter Wing in attendance, and ended with some words for his wife.

“Lastly, to my wife Val, thank you for uprooting after 18 years in Anchorage…you left friends, a church, [and] your school that you started down there. You’ve been a rock, a sounding board, and a confidant, and I couldn’t – wouldn’t do [this] without you up here.”

DISCLAIMER: This article was originally published at the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System Hub ( The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

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