56th FW welcomes new commander

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Dominic Tyler
  • 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Jason Rueschhoff, 56th Fighter Wing commander, relinquished command to Col. David Berkland, during a Change of Command ceremony, July 1, 2024, at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona.

Berkland is a command pilot with more than 3,800 flying hours, including over 900 combat hours. He arrived at Luke AFB following a position as the chief of staff of the Headquarters Pacific Air Forces at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and is selected for promotion to brigadier general.

Berkland earned his commission in 1998 from Officer Training School after graduating from Augustana University. He performed duties as an F-16 Fighting Falcon instructor pilot and weapons officer, and flew combat missions in Operations SOUTHERN WATCH, NORTHERN WATCH, IRAQI FREEDOM, and FREEDOM’S SENTINEL.

Maj. Gen. Clark Quinn, 19th Air Force commander assigned to Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas presided over the ceremony.

“Luke AFB is a perfect example of the Air Education and Training Command mission done right,” said Quinn. “Ox (Rueschhoff) and his incredible team here lead about 7,500 Total Force Airmen. Ox leaves the 56th to the exceptionally capable Ajax (Berkland). You have inherited a team of motivated and innovative Airmen, and I charge you to continue empowering that team to forge the next generation of our nation’s warriors, to ensure readiness and develop Airmen with the competencies to win against any competitor anytime, anywhere.”

Before relinquishing the guidon to his successor, Rueschhoff addressed the group commanders and expressed his gratitude to the 56th FW.

“Our people are our foundation,” said Rueschhoff. “Thank you to the leaders and group commanders for keeping your priorities straight with knowing what our most important asset is. I am extremely grateful to have worked with the men and women here at Luke. Thank you all for putting the time, effort, and energy into the mission every single day.”

After the exchange of the ceremonial guidon, Berkland thanked everyone in attendance, as well as those who supported him throughout his career. Before concluding the ceremony, he addressed the 56th FW and explained what they should expect of his leadership.

“I am honored and humbled to take this guidon today,” said Berkland. “But as to your expectations of my command, I’m going to provide you with my commander’s intent and then I’m going to get out of your way. I will let you continue to do what you already do to support, defend, and deliver high-end airpower at the 56th FW. Thank you all, and let’s get back to work.”