Seventh Air Force hosts first virtual change of command

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Matthew Davis and Master Sgt. Rachelle Blake
  • Seventh Air Force Public Affairs

Lt. Gen. Scott L. Pleus assumed command of the Air Component Command and Seventh Air Force and assumed responsibility as the deputy commander of United States Forces Korea from Lt. Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach June 12 at Osan Air Base, South Korea.

In a Seventh Air Force first, some members of the official party attended the ceremony via a shared video teleconference due to COVID-19 mitigation measures.

Gen. Robert “Abe” Abrams, commander of USFK and USFK’s United Nations Command and Combined Forces Command, presided over the change of command of the Air Component Command and the change of responsibility for the deputy commander of USFK.

“The resounding success during Lieutenant General Wilsbach’s tenure would not have been possible without his rock steady leadership,” Abrams said. “Thank you for your services to the United States Forces Korea, especially the (Republic of Korea)-U.S. alliance. Your engaged leadership carried us through the many challenges we have faced here on the Korean Peninsula, and your ability to inspire the absolute best for your Airmen here in Korea will be sorely missed.”

Wilsbach is moving to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, to take command of the Pacific Air Forces. His replacement, Pleus, recently relinquished command as Headquarters PACAF director of air and cyberspace operations.

“He has big shoes to fill, but I am absolutely confident that he is the exact right senior leader for these critically important positions,” Abrams said. “Welcome to the team.”

Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., PACAF commander, presided over the Seventh Air Force change of command ceremony.

“ (Pleus) is primed to lead (Seventh Air Force),” he said. “He is a servant leader with an impeccable career and flight record in the F-16 (Fighting Falcon) and F-35 (Lightning II). He is no stranger to the security challenges of the region and particularly the peninsula and the importance of the relationships that are foundational to the U.S.-ROK alliance.

“He will continue to focus efforts across the full spectrum of operations, and we will remain ready, resilient and postured and, should the need arise, be ready to fight tonight with our joint teammates and allies to be able to provide precise, intense and overwhelming airpower whenever and wherever needed,” Brown said.

This is Pleus’ third assignment on the peninsula. For Pleus, his new position means taking command of more than 8,900 total force Airmen. From quarantine, he took a moment to address them.

“I am so excited to serve the Airmen of Seventh (Air Force), our joint partners of USFK and our Korean allies,” he said. “One of the best parts of being back is the intense feeling of family, the commitment we have to our ironclad alliance and the 24/7 focus on the fight-tonight mission in order to deter aggression, defend the ROK and defeat enemy attack against the alliance. Our steadfast commitment forges a common bond between us that leads to deep and lasting friendships and links us together as warriors.”

Twenty-four years ago, Pleus completed a remote tour to Kunsan AB, South Korea, and eight years ago, he served as the 8th Fighter Wing commander at Kunsan AB.

“The friendships I have made over the past 24 years still hold strong today,” Pleus said. “I wholeheartedly believe this is the best assignment you can get in our Air Force, and just like my last two tours to Korea, this is my assignment of choice. It is an honor and privilege to serve the Airmen of Seventh (Air Force), our joint partners and allies.”