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AETC deputy commander completes JBSA immersion tour

By Angelina Casarez | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | Aug. 3, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —

Maj. Gen. William Spangenthal, Air Education and Training Command’s new deputy commander, was joined by Brig. Gen. Caroline Miller, 502d Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio commander, and her senior enlisted advisor, Command Chief Master Sgt. Wendell Snider, along with other JBSA senior leaders, for an immersion tour at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and JBSA-Lackland July 24.    

The tour focused on high-interest areas and highlighted Miller’s commitment to the JBSA community.  

“Transparency is our priority,” Miller said. “My team will focus on solutions and will continue to over-communicate with leaders, mission partners, and families across JBSA.”   

The driving portion of the deputy commander’s tour, which began at Brooke Army Medical Center and continued to JBSA-Fort Sam Houston facilities, included a briefing by Lt. Col. (Dr.) Matt Schmidt, chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at BAMC.  

Schmidt discussed operations at the medical center during COVID-19 and how his department has collaborated with other agencies to adjust in the rapidly-changing pandemic environment. 

Throughout the driving tour, Spangenthal was briefed on the key details of each facility.  

The first portion of the tour included the Center for the Intrepid, Naval Operations Support Center, Fisher Houses, the new Joint Transition Readiness Center, Warrior and Family Support Center, Okubu Barracks and Powless House.  

The second portion of the windshield tour included Liberty Barracks and the 59th Training Group’s dormitory and student activity center. Then, the group visited the Navy Medical Training Command barracks, ships and dorms, where they discussed the facilities and highlighted the services’ cultural differences in operating dormitories.  

“Joint Base San Antonio is very unique in that all branches of the U.S. military utilize our installations, and each requires a specific level of support,” Miller said. “It’s important that all of our sister services know our commitment to providing the services, support and infrastructure they need in order to achieve their mission.” 

The tour continued to JBSA-Lackland, where the group visited the Gateway Inn and Villa.  

The Air Force’s lodging facilities were the primary location in which quarantined evacuees from China’s Hubei province, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, and passengers from the Grand Princess Cruise ship were housed, in collaboration with the City of San Antonio and numerous state officials.   

The facilities were chosen due to their abundance of single rooms, which each has a private bathroom, and are close to high-quality medical facilities, like the Texas Center for Infectious Disease.  

The JBSA-Lackland tour continued, with visits to the 37th Training Wing’s "Tent City," where Airmen await their post-Basic Military Training assignments, as well as stops at the Chaparral Fitness Center and Mesquite Dining Facility.   

In the afternoon, the tour continued to the 502nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, where the group learned the details of how personnel provides America’s future Airmen with their initial clothing issue as they arrive for Air Force Basic Military Training.  

Next, they traveled to JBSA-Kelly Field, one of the Department of Defense’s only joint-use airfields, where they visited the air terminal and the 502nd Operations Support Squadron for a briefing on the airfield’s commercial missions, and its civil support of military and government aircraft, as well as industrial and international aviation.  Current and planned maintenance and improvement projects were also discussed.  

The tour concluded at the 502nd OSS Air Tower, where Spangenthal learned about the tower’s operations and the plans to replace the Air Force’s second-oldest air traffic control tower in the near future.  

Spangenthal entered his current role as AETC’s deputy commander in June. He is a 1992 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and has commanded at the squadron, expeditionary group and wing levels. He is also a command pilot with more than 3,500 flying hours.