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8th Fighter Wing welcomes new commander, Col. Matthew Gaetke

  • Published
  • By Capt. Kaylin Hankerson
  • 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Col. Matthew C. Gaetke assumed command of the 8th Fighter Wing during an assumption of command ceremony, Nov. 8.

Lt. Gen. Scott Pleus, Seventh Air Force commander, presided over the ceremony that bid farewell to Col. Timothy B. Murphy, who is set to retire in February and officially marked the beginning of Gaetke’s time as “Wolf.”

“Wolf 63 [Murphy], thank you for your outstanding leadership and vision,” said Pleus. “We are thankful for your service and your leadership of the Wolf Pack and you've done an incredible job.”

Prior to his selection as the 8th Fighter Wing commander, Gaetke was the commander of the 607th Air Operations Center, stationed at Osan Air Base, ROK.

“Radar [Gaetke], welcome back to Kunsan,” said Pleus. “You have an incredible reputation as an expert aviator and have proven yourself as a leader. I have no doubt that the leadership and initiative you've shown throughout your career will continue the Wolf Pack’s success.”

After accepting the guidon from Pleus and officially assuming command, Gaetke took time to speak with the Wolf Pack and began with what it meant to return to the legendary unit.

“For 70 years, we have stood shoulder to shoulder with our allies here in the ROK staring down our adversaries to the north,” said Gateke. “It's been 57 years since operation BOLO when Robin Olds christened the 8th FW the Wolf Pack, 50 years next year since the 8th Fighter Wing made Kunsan its home, and today I have the distinct honor of stepping into that history with all of you.”

Gaetke ended the ceremony by leaving the Wolf Pack with a call to action.

“The new Chief of Staff of the Air Force reminded us just the other day that we need to change to tackle the challenges we face as a nation, so with that as our charge, Wolf Pack let’s continue to get after it.”

Under 7th Air Force, Gaetke will also serve as the U.S. Forces Korea Area VI commander for more than 7,000 Air Force and Army personnel responsible for helping defend the Korean Peninsula alongside Republic of Korea partners.