341st Missile Wing welcomes new commander

Maj. Gen. Anthony J. Cotton, 20th Air Force commander, left, presents the 341st Missile Wing guidon to Col. Ronald G. Allen, Jr., right, as Allen takes command of the wing during a ceremony on Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., April 19, 2016. Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Stiles, 341 MW command chief master sergeant, looks on. As one of Air Force Global Strike Command’s three Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile wings, the 341 MW provides strategic deterrence for the nation through the operation of 150 land-based ICBMs. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Turner)

Maj. Gen. Anthony J. Cotton, 20th Air Force commander, left, presents the 341st Missile Wing guidon to Col. Ronald G. Allen, Jr., right, as Allen takes command of the wing during a ceremony on Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., April 19, 2016. Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Stiles, 341 MW command chief master sergeant, looks on. As one of Air Force Global Strike Command’s three Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile wings, the 341 MW provides strategic deterrence for the nation through the operation of 150 land-based ICBMs. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Turner)

Maj. Gen. Anthony J. Cotton, 20th Air Force commander, Col. Ronald G. Allen, Jr., 341st Missile Wing commander, and Col. John T. Wilcox II, previous 341 MW commander, rise for the Air Force song at the completion of the 341 MW change of command ceremony April 19, 2016, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Turner)

Maj. Gen. Anthony J. Cotton, 20th Air Force commander, Col. Ronald G. Allen, Jr., 341st Missile Wing commander, and Col. John T. Wilcox II, previous 341 MW commander, rise for the Air Force song at the completion of the 341 MW change of command ceremony April 19, 2016, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Turner)

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- The 341st Missile Wing welcomed its newest commander during a change of command ceremony April 19 at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana.

Maj. Gen. Anthony J. Cotton, 20th Air Force and Task Force 214 commander, presided over the ceremony and the change of command, where Col. John T. Wilcox II relinquished command to Col. Ronald G. Allen, Jr.

"The change of command is an official, formal and brief ceremony deeply rooted in military tradition," said Maj. Adrian Zollinger, 341st MW executive and narrator for the ceremony. "It is a visible means of handing the reins of command from the departing commander to the new commander."

Before transiting the position, Wilcox received the Legion of Merit for his service as the wing's commander from March 27, 2014, to April 18, 2016. Wilcox distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service to the United States.

Cotton addressed the wing's Airmen in his opening remarks.

"The proud members of the 341st Missile Wing are an unwavering sentinel of our nation's strategic deterrent force," said Cotton. "Thanks to their diligent and highly competent service, our (intercontinental ballistic missile) combat capability provides the president of the United States a safe, credible, capable and ready force to deter aggression and assure our allies. Never lose sight of the awesome responsibility that you have and the impact that each of you, individually, make every day."

Cotton then joined Allen at center stage for the ceremonial passing of the wing guidon.

"I'm truly excited about the future," said Allen. "As the saying goes, I truly stand on the shoulders of giants. I humbly follow in the footsteps of so many who have walked these grounds."

In Allen's first speech as commander, he offered Airmen of the wing three things.

"Today I only offer three things: one fact, one promise and one request," said Allen. "The fact: you and your generation are better than me and mine. You had to compete to join this Air Force much harder than we did, against better competition and a struggling economy. You are more globally aware, better able to multitask, aren't afraid to question authority and most impressively you raised your right hand and volunteered to serve a country at war. You are simply better than we were at your age and you deserve and have my respect.

"My promise then is to work each and every day to earn yours," continued Allen. "I do not bring any preconceived ideas, immediate changes or visions for a new future. We will build those together. This is not my wing, it's yours. Leadership is a gift and I promise to earn that each and every day by trusting you, learning from you and ultimately doing all I can to serve you.

"My request, simply, is that you do the same," said Allen. "Put the needs of others above your own. It's not I, but we. It's not me, it's a team. Accept responsibility and hold each other accountable to the standard. If you do that, we'll build an amazing group of leaders and accomplish more than we can ever imagine."

Allen entered the Air Force in 1994 and has served in a variety of positions within missile and space launch operations. His prior assignment was the vice commander of the 90th Missile Wing, F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming.