Gen. Alston takes reins of 20th Air Force

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Maj. Gen. C. Donald Alston assumed command of the 20th Air Force from Gen. Roger W. Burg July 1 on F. E. Warren's historic Argonne Parade Field in a ceremony which also marked General Burg's retirement from active duty after 32 years of service.

Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force chief of staff; Gen. Kevin Chilton, commander of U.S. Strategic Command; and Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, were the featured speakers.

Several other active-duty and retired Air Force senior officers attended including Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander of Air Force Space Command, and Maj. Gen. Ed Wright, adjutant general of the Wyoming National Guard, along with command chiefs and civic leaders from 20th Air Force's three missile bases here, at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., and at Minot AFB, N.D. Their presence underscored the enduring importance of the Air Force's nuclear deterrence and global strike forces.

Assuming command, General Alston said "This is a great honor and opportunity." He said his family and he "just couldn't be more excited to become, once again, members of the 20th AF family and come back into the ICBM business."

Hundreds of Airmen participated in the pass in review during the 10 a.m. ceremony to commemorate the occasion.

General Klotz called General Alston "a leader of strong conviction, who has great passion for the mission and its Airmen, and who knows the ICBM and nuclear business inside-out."
"I cannot think of anyone more qualified than General Alston to take command of 20th Air Force at this point in our history," he said.

"We are all confident that Major General Don Alston and Ana Alston will continue the proud heritage of this great organization and successfully lead 20th Air Force through the opportunities and the challenges that lie ahead," General Klotz said.

General Alston thanked General Burg for passing to him a command filled with strong leaders and a devoted force with well-trained, highly competent Airmen.

In retiring General Burg, General Schwartz also noted the significance of former commander's career, culminating in his role at the helm of 20th Air Force.

"During his tenure, 20th Air Force continued its longstanding excellence in maintaining one-third of the strategic Triad; providing the nation with combat-ready ICBMs on alert, and protecting us with the essential umbrella of deterrence," General Schwartz said.

The official party, in F.E. Warren AFB tradition, departed the ceremony by horse-drawn carriage.

Editor's note: Staff Sgt. Mike Tryon, 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs, contributed to this story.