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NEWS | July 26, 2011

New leadership at JBSA: Carter takes command of 502nd ABW

By L.A. Shively FSH News Leader

Air Force Brig. Gen. Leonard Patrick turned over command of Joint Base San Antonio to Air Force Brig. Gen. Theresa Carter Monday at Fort Sam Houston's MacArthur Parade Field with ruffles and flourishes.

Civilians and uniformed servicemembers representing JBSA assembled in flights; the 502nd Air Base Wing, headquarters staff, and its three support elements, the 502nd Mission Support Group from Fort Sam Houston, the 802nd Mission Support Group from Lackland Air Force Base and the 902nd Mission Support Group from Randolph AFB, stood in formation to witness the ceremonial transfer of the unit guidon and change of command.

A joint color guard paraded the colors and the band, consisting of musicians from both the Army and Air Force, entertained the gathering.

"Brig. Gen. T.C. Carter will bring her own combat boots," said Air Force Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr., Air Education and Training Command commander, officiating over the ceremony and conveying Carter's qualifications for the job.

"She's here to make her own footprints on this organization ... she'll take that baton and take this wing to new heights of greatness. She's perfectly positioned to do exactly that. She is one of the three most prominent and preeminent civil engineers in the United States Air Force," Rice said.

Joint Base San Antonio - consolidating the resources of Fort Sam Houston and Randolph and Lackland AFBs - is the largest of 12 joint bases mandated by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act.

Overseeing Fort Sam Houston, Randolph and Lackland, the 502nd ABW administers physical plants worth more than $10 billion and has an annual budget of more than $700 million supporting 211 mission partners and nearly 80,000 people.

Rice said Carter had been both a mission support group commander and an air base wing commander.

"The good news is she knows your job. The bad news is she knows your job," he joked. "For the last three years she has been the lead person within Air Mobility Command on joint basing issues both at the policy and the execution levels. I daresay there isn't any one who has greater knowledge of joint basing in the entire Department of Defense," Rice said, closing his remarks.

Addressing the men and women in formation during his farewell address, Patrick said, "You are the heart and soul of what we do."

"You are customer service-oriented partners. You are creative, you are innovative," he said, adding that this journey called joint basing is about doing what is right for the customers so they can pursue conflict and protect the country around the world and in cyber space.

"I don't give up the command easily, but if I could pick one officer to lead you to the next level, it is Brig. Gen. Theresa Carter. She knows what the issues are and she also knows what we're doing here in San Antonio. T.C., I can't wait to see what you do with this organization," Patrick said.

Patrick leaves JBSA to command the 2nd Air Force in Biloxi, Miss.

As change of command orders were read aloud, Patrick relinquished command and the guidon to Rice. Carter then accepted command of JBSA and the guidon from Rice.

"Len, I say the best leaders are those who bring out the best in others, and I can say it's clear that your leadership has brought out the best in the Air Base Wing," Carter said at the podium to Patrick during her salutatory remarks.

Carter said she'd been blessed to be at the right place and time, with the right people in order to make a positive difference in the past and that held true with JBSA as well.

"I don't think I've ever seen a more dedicated group of community and civic leaders than here in San Antonio," she said. "It's easy, in my eyes, to see why San Antonio is known as Military City USA and it's absolutely the right place to be. I look forward to working closely with our community leaders over the next few years.

"Is it the right time?" Carter asked. "You bet it is. As the wing nears the end of its (first) full year of joint operations, you will continue to review and refine the processes that you so painstakingly developed.

"I relish the chance to lead change, seize new opportunities to improve and develop innovative solutions to the problems that lie ahead."

Carter was asked whether the right people were up to the challenges of JBSA.

"There's no doubt about it," she said, commending senior leaders.

Carter lauded the talents and dedication of those at the wing and, concluding her remarks, said, "When you add passionate civic leaders, you absolutely have the right people to make Joint Base San Antonio the premier installation of the Department of Defense.

"I am deeply honored to command this wing, proudly accept responsibility for it and look forward to building upon the proud tradition of excellence associated with the 502nd Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio."