Thanks, Team Keesler – What a Week!

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Andrew Mueller
  • 81st Training Wing commander
Keri and I want to sincerely thank everyone for all of your hospitality in welcoming us to Keesler. Both of us are thoroughly impressed with the base facilities and even more impressed with the wonderful people we continue to meet every day. We feel privileged to be joining such a great team!

The change-of-command ceremony on Monday was outstanding. Maj. Gen. Mary Kay Hertog, 2nd Air Force commander; Brig. Gen. Ian Dickinson, the departing wing commander, and I thank all of you who had a hand in making this a special event, particularly those who endured the heat to stand in formation. The honor guard looked sharp and the Keesler Ensemble's rendition of our National Anthem was beautiful.

While my week started with the change of command, this was far from the only highlight. That very afternoon I was pleased to join the Keesler First Sergeants Association at the monthly wing promotion ceremony. What a nice way for family, friends and supervisors to recognize Keesler's newest promotees.

Wednesday evening, I joined with our Services team to celebrate with those Airmen whose birthdays are in August. The team at the Magnolia Dining Facility led by Van Wilson put on a wonderful birthday dinner. I can't wait for September's birthday dinner -- I'll be having the steak!

Thursday morning, I was privileged to meet retired Col. Derrel Dempsey. The Air Force's annual Air Traffic Control Manager of the Year award is named after him. He spoke at the air traffic control apprentice course graduation at which his grandson graduated.

Thursday evening, I was honored to host the annual senior noncommissioned officer induction ceremony where the fifth Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Bob Gaylor, welcomed our newest senior NCOs to the "Top Three" leadership ranks. He challenged our newest senior NCOs to put their "name on the mailbox" and take ownership of what we do here at Keesler. He truly made it a special evening for all of us.

Master Sgt. Ezra Kahn did a great job orchestrating this event. Equally impressive was Carmen Steed and her team of Services folks who juggled a variety of challenges to serve an outstanding dinner in the Roberts Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Facility. I look forward to seeing what Carmen and her team will do working out of the new Bay Breeze Events Center that opens in September.

Friday, I reviewed a top-notch competition at the 81st Training Group's drill down. What a superb display of teamwork, cooperation and competitive spirit -- qualities which will serve our airmen well throughout their Air Force careers. The student drum and bugle corps, led by Airman 1st Bradley Williams, put on an equally impressive show.

While Master Sgt. Kathleen Pasquini and her team of judges determined the 334th Training Squadron to be the best this day, in my mind everyone who participated was a winner for sure.

Also on Friday, I watched Lt. Col. Craig Williams take command of the 345th Airlift Squadron. The flying mission here at Keesler is an important one, and this active-duty squadron will add tremendous capability to the 403rd Wing.

Keri and I are proud to be a part of the strong team in place here at Keesler. Thanks again for all you do -- Train to Fight, Train to Win!