HomeNewsArticle Display

352d SOW welcomes new commander

Two people holding a flag.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, Air Force Special Operations Command commander, passes the guidon to U.S. Air Force Col. Clay Freeman 352nd Special Operations Wing incoming commander during the 352 SOW change of command ceremony at RAF Mildenhall, England June 13, 2019. Freeman is responsible for more than 1,200 active-duty and civilian Airmen who perform missions on the MC-130J Commando II and CV-22 Osprey aircraft and Special Tactics for U.S. Air Force Special Operations in the United States European Command. (U.S Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexandria Lee)

RAF Mildenhall --

Col. Clay Freeman accepted command of the 352d Special Operations Wing from Col. Matthew Smith during a change of command at RAF Mildenhall, England June 13, 2019.

In his last assignment, Freeman served as the Air Force Special Operations Command chief of staff at Hurlburt Field, Florida.

The ceremony was officiated by Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command.

“The 352d has played a major role in Air Force Special Operations Command and has a special place in my heart,” Webb said. “This wing is a prime example of what it means to embody the core values of the Air Force.”

The 352d SOW gave a final farewell to Smith who has served as the 352d SOW commander for the past two years. Smith will now move on to serve as Air Force Special Operations Command chief of staff. 

In his final comments as commander, Smith reflected on his time at RAF Mildenhall and recognizes the men and women of the 352 SOW for their dedication.

“As we stand here today, 352d Air Commandos and elements of the Joint Special Operations Air Component are operating across Europe and in the deserts of East Africa, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan,” Smith said. “In short, this unit has been combat tested, time and time again, and proven that it is among the finest in the Air Force.” 

Following the change of command, Freeman spoke to the members of the 352d SOW and charged the Airmen and civilians to continue to serve with integrity, help one another and strive for excellence.

“Together we will face many challenges in a dynamic, complex, and global arena, but I know, that our Air Commandos culture, rooted in core values has prepared us for those challenges,” Freeman said. “I charge each of you to continue to serve with integrity, help one another through personal professional sacrifices, and always strive for excellence. I pledge to give you the same in return.”