Maj. Gen. Harold W. Blot, a former military test pilot who rode some of the same experimental, rocket-powered aircraft into space as legendary aviator Chuck Yeager, on Friday became the 39th commanding general of El Toro's 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
During an hourlong ceremony in which generals were as plentiful as corporals, Blot, 52, officially took control of the wing's 16,000 Marines and $50 billion in fighter jets from his predecessor, Maj. Gen. Royal N. Moore. Moore, in turn, was promoted and will become commander of the 60,000-member Fleet Marine Force Pacific, headquartered at Camp H.M. Smith, near Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.
At the same ceremony, Brig. Gen. P. Drax Williams, 51, an assistant to the commandant who handled legislative and public affairs matters for the Marines in Washington, replaced Blot as commander of El Toro and the Marine Corps air stations at Tustin, Camp Pendleton and Yuma, Ariz.
The changes in command--which occur periodically--were hastened by the departure of Brig. Gen Wayne T. Adams, who was reassigned after a controversy earlier this year over his personal use of military aircraft.
The scandal also was blamed for the suicide of a top officer on the base and the firing of the chief of staff.