353rd SOG welcomes new commander

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Kristine Dreyer
  • 353rd Special Operations Group Public Affairs
Col. William C. Freeman assumed command of the 353rd Special Operations Group during a ceremony held May 8, 2015 at Kadena Air Base, Japan.

Maj. Gen. Morris E. Haase, Air Force Special Operations Command vice commander and presiding officer, presented the guidon to Freeman during the ceremony.

The 353rd Special Operations Group, formally commanded by Col. Ben Maitre, is comprised of nearly 800 Airmen and is AFSOC’s only Special Operations Group operating in the Department of Defense’s largest Area of Responsibility.

After taking command, Freeman addressed the group recognizing the Airmen along with their families.

“Thank you for your sacrifices and your passion to be the best,” Freeman said. “We are here because of the mission, but our success is due to the superior performance of our Airmen and the support of their families.”

The group’s lineage began 71 years ago with the 3rd Air Commando Group and continued into the Vietnam with the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing. Freeman closed the ceremony by acknowledging the group’s past and present while looking toward the future.

“You honor the 3rd Air Commandos and the 553rd Batcats not only as the finest combat aviators, maintainers, and enablers in the world, but also the finest officers, NCOs, and Airmen,” Freeman said. “Thank you for your relentless drive to be the best and for constantly pushing each other to raise the Batcat Standard. I am truly humbled to now serve as your Commander. I’ll leave you with this quote: ‘Amateurs train until they get it right, Professionals train until they can’t get it wrong.’ Now, go out and honor those who have gone before us…as professionals.”