General Mueller assumes command of Keesler
By Susan Griggs, 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 02, 2010
KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- In assuming command of the 81st Training Wing Monday, Brig. Gen. Andrew Mueller issued a three-part challenge to Team Keesler - professionalism, perseverance and pride.
General Mueller took command from Brig. Gen. Ian Dickinson in a ceremony on the parade field officiated by Maj. Gen. Mary Kay Hertog, 2nd Air Force commander.
In highlighting professionalism, General Mueller challenged his team "to be an example to our Airmen. Be an inspiration to them - be someone they'll want to emulate as they move forward in their careers."
In emphasizing perseverance, the new commander said, "I can't guarantee that construction schedules will stay on timeline, that there won't be another tropical storm or hurricane that may try to interrupt our training schedule. But we must persevere through these incidents - they are never an excuse to cut back or skimp on our training effort."
General Mueller encouraged Team Keesler to take pride in its mission, pointing out, "While it will never make the headlines or the front page of the news, it's extremely important to the Air Force, and every commander in the field recognizes the contributions that Keesler makes."
Although General Mueller never trained at Keesler, he comes to his new assignment with a clear vision of the importance of training to the Air Force mission.
"Training is what stimulates the action in the field - training is the foundation of everything the Air Force does in the field," he stressed. "The difficult challenge here at Keesler is that we only have one chance to do it right. There are no recalls or re-dos after we graduate our students."
General Hertog called General Mueller an "Air Force standout" and told the new commander, "You've inherited a championship team and the support of the wonderful community surrounding this base. My only advice to you is to take care of your people and they'll take care of you - and to have fun."
Having fun is something General Mueller, his wife Keri and their three daughters are looking forward to after a year's separation during his last assignment in Turkey as the deputy commander for NATO's Combined Air Operations Center 6, Allied Air Forces Southern Europe.
General Hertog also recognized General Dickinson for leading Keesler through the final stages of its Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. That reconstruction program resulted in the completion of more than 1,000 new homes six months ahead of schedule and the completion of a new shopping complex, fire station, postal facility, dormitory, radiation and oncology center. A new events center opens next month and construction of a new inpatient and emergency tower and permanent party dormitory are underway.
"General Dickinson has been the catalyst behind the Air Force's cyberspace training transformation," she stated. "Under his leadership, our cyber experts brought cyber training online four month early. This massive undertaking included remodeling a facility, realigning instructors and developing 18 courses."
General Dickinson recalled that he had returned to command Keesler 15 years after he had trained at Keesler, and after his 15-month tenure as the 81st TRW commander, he remarked, "We've done so much in these 15 months. It would be hard to tell if those 15 years or 15 months had seen more change.
"You've invested in Keesler's future, and that's investing in the Air Force's future," he added. "We provide the future force, trained and combat ready to take their positions within the Air Force."
General Dickinson said he was excited about the challenges of his new job as Director, Communications and Information, and Chief Information Officer for Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., but noted, "This has truly been the best assignment of my career. I look forward to hearing great things about Keesler in the future."