Luke Air Force Base getting new commanding general

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Luke Air Force Base in Glendale is set to get a new commanding general and the current commander is heading to Afghanistan.

Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus will assume command of the 56th Fighter Wing later this month. He's an F-16 pilot currently assigned to the Pentagon and previously commanded the 8th Fighter Wing in Korea. He was based at Luke from May 2003 through June 2006.

The current base commander is Brig. Gen. Michael Rothstein. Also a veteran F-16 pilot, Rothstein is taking over a command of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

A change of command ceremony is set for June 20 at the base about 15 miles west of Phoenix.

Luke is the world's largest F-16 training base and is transitioning to the military's new F-35 fighter.

The wing, part of Air Education and Training Command, is home to 138 aircrafts, 24 squadrons and four tenant units. The 56th Fighter Wing graduates more than 285 F-16 pilots and 350 crew chiefs annually.