MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
Col. Michael Walters assumed command of the 5th Bomb Wing from Col. Bradley Cochran during a change of command ceremony at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, on July 16, 2020.
To adhere to current social distancing guidelines, the ceremony was held virtually with limited in-person attendance. Those in attendance included families of both commanders and commander’s support staff.
Walters comes to the 5 BW from the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, where he served as the commander of the 379th Expeditionary Operations Group, in support of Operations FREEDOM’S SENTINEL and INHERENT RESOLVE.
“We set the bar for excellence at Minot Air Force Base and the 5th Bomb Wing,” Walters said. “Make no mistake, Minot is special, there is no place on earth like this.”
Walters has flying experience in the B-52H Stratofortress, B-2 Spirit, and B-1B Lancer with more than 2,680 flight hours, including 588 combat hours.
Walters’ experience and leadership will ensure the combat readiness and bolster the strategic importance of the 5th Bomb Wing. He will be responsible for operations involving the wing’s fleet of B-52 bombers that provide deterrence and peace of mind for the nation and its allies; while ensuring global strike capabilities for the Department of Defense from Minot.
“The Air Force and this nation count on the men and women of the 5th Bomb Wing to underwrite their freedom and security 24/7/365,” 8th Air Force commander, Major General Mark Weatherington said. “And this is a world class leadership team to match that fact.”
Walters expressed gratitude in being selected to lead the Warbirds.
“To the Warbirds, I am truly honored to take the lead,” Walters said. “I’m humbled by your accomplishments, your sacrifice, and dedication.”
Cochran will be assigned as a member of Headquarters of the Air Force Air Staff as the Deputy Director of operational capability requirements at the Pentagon in Washington D.C.
“The Warbirds continue to make history and carry on a legacy of excellence,” Cochran said. “Thank you for allowing me to stand with you and be part of that legacy. It has been my honor to be counted a Warbird.”