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New commander takes charge of Gateway to the Air Force

By Lilly Flores-Janecek | 37th Training Wing Public Affairs Office | Jan. 31, 2008

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS — The new commander of the 37th Training Wing is honored and excited to be at Lackland and busy getting acquainted with Team Lackland members and the base.

"I'm just trying to get my boots on the ground and see the entire installation," said Col. Len A. Patrick, who assumed command of the 37th TRW from Brig. Gen. Darrell Jones on Jan. 25. "I'm trying to understand Lackland because it's so complex and big."

Colonel Patrick was the director of Installations and Mission Support, Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Scott AFB, Ill., where he was responsible for the AMC civil engineer, security forces, contracting and expeditionary combat support. He has commanded the 60th Mission Support Group at Travis AFB, Calif., and the 12th Civil Engineer Squadron at Randolph AFB. In addition, he has served on four headquarters staffs, including being the civil engineer, Headquarters Air Education and Training Command at Randolph AFB.

"Although we'll miss the Joneses, it is great to welcome Brig. Gen.-select Len Patrick, his wife Lynne, and children, Amanda and Matthew," said Maj. Gen. Michael C. Gould, 2nd Air Force commander. "Len Patrick is the perfect officer to assume this awesome responsibility and to continue the great work and legacy left by Darrell and Holly Jones."

An Air Force Academy graduate of 1981 recruited on a golf scholarship, Colonel Patrick said he did not expect to receive yet another command during his military career.

"I am very fortunate to be given this opportunity and I'm very thankful to Gen. (Bill) Looney, (AETC commander) and General Gould for having the confidence in Lynne and me to lead Lackland," Colonel Patrick said.

Reflecting on the change of command this week in his new office, which is still rather bare, Colonel Patrick praised the 37th TRW staff for the "flawless" ceremony and "great reception."

The new commander said he does not like to "get tied behind the desk," but instead prefers to go out and visit his staff, including the folks who work night shifts. He said he will be looking for honest feedback and ways to make the 37th TRW even better.

"I'm a team-type leader but I understand I'm also the one making the decision," said Colonel Patrick. "So, I will make the tough call or the unpopular decision if it's the right decision."

Colonel Patrick, who says it is "fantastic" to be back in San Antonio, plans to build on the community relationships that General Jones and Holly have made and cultivate new ones. But, his main priority will be to ensure a smooth transition in November when basic training will be increased from six and half weeks to eight and half weeks.

"I'm here to do a job. This job is not about Len and Lynne Patrick. It's about the Airmen that walk through these gates and serve the Air Force," said Colonel Patrick. "It's about the families and the retirees that are serviced by Lackland. And when I use the term Airmen, I am using a capital A. It's all-inclusive. That's the folks that wear the uniform, the Air Force civilians and in some respects the contractors, the providers to our folks."

And with those final words about his new "dream job" the commander of the 37th TRW headed home to help his wife unpack boxes, a task the two have done together 16 times, and several times before that as children of military fathers.