KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Col. Debra Lovette took command of the 81st Training Wing during a change of command ceremony at the Bay Breeze Event Center here, June 2.
Outgoing commander, Col. Michele Edmondson, relinquished the guidon before heading to her new assignment as executive officer to the vice chief of staff of the Air Force.
Maj. Gen. Bob LaBrutta, 2nd Air Force commander, officiated the ceremony and shared some parting words for Edmondson.
“Second Air Force is second to none only because the professionals who train, develop and inspire the world’s premiere Airmen to power the world’s greatest Air Force and that’s represented in the professionals in formation and around the room here,” LaBrutta said. “The 81st TRW has brought that every single day. As you depart you should do so knowing the work you and the Dragons accomplished during your tenure was absolutely spectacular. Thanks for leading from the front, always.”
Before departing, Edmondson took a moment to thank Team Keesler for their commitment to family and service.
“To the men and women of the 81st TRW and Team Keesler, thank you for all you’ve accomplished during the last two years,” Edmondson said. “Your success has far exceeded all my expectations. Through every unexpected opportunity that’s come our way you’ve risen above every challenge and proven time and time again the Airmen of the 81st TRW really are the world’s best Airmen. The people of Keesler and the surrounding area define what a community should be, and that’s what I will miss the most. Col. Lovette, welcome to the world’s best wing.”
After accepting command, Lovette addressed Keesler’s Airmen.
“It’s an honor and truly humbling to stand in front of you today and join your team,” Lovette said. “I’m a product of this esteemed wing, and I had no idea I’d be coming back some 22 years later to lead it. But even back then as a student I knew this wing was special; it has discipline, a challenging mission and absolutely incredible people.”
As the new 81st TRW commander, Lovette is responsible for commanding 12,000 Airmen and civilians, providing technical training for officers, enlisted and civilians of the U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves as well as other Defense Department agencies, featuring numerous electronic, computer, weather, medical, personnel, comptroller and information management career fields.
Lovette also expressed her enthusiasm to train, develop and inspire the Airmen under her command.
“I’m most excited about meeting the young Airmen and understanding what motivates and inspires them,” Lovette said. “There’s things for me to learn from the younger generation about communication, what motivates them and what they’re looking for in life, because I want to marry those two things together; what accomplishes our mission and what motivates our people, because people are the most important aspect of what we do in the Air Force.”