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Gen. Jones shares parting sentiments

By Brig. Gen. Darrell Jones | 37th Training Wing | Jan. 25, 2008

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS — A year-and-a-half ago, Holly and I came to the 37th Training Wing at Lackland. We remember feeling overwhelmed at the sight of hundreds of young basic training graduates and permanent party ready to march in the change of command parade.

As we prepare to leave Lackland, we're still overwhelmed. Only this time it's a little different.

We've been overwhelmed by the wonderful people we've met here in San Antonio. We've been overwhelmed by the dedication of our Airmen (officers, enlisted and Air Force civilians) and the generosity of our civic supporters.

We've been overwhelmed by the sacrifices made every day by military family members and the dedication of every one, military, civilians and families, to the mission.

The 37th TRW is the most diverse wing in the Air Force. The 737th Training Group (basic training) produces warrior Airmen ready to take part in the Global War on Terrorism.

The 37th Training Group (technical training) produces 28 different specialties (ground combat specialties, logistics, services, enlisted aviators, dog handlers, recruiters, military training instructors, the list goes on and on).

At the Defense Language Institute English Language Center, our instructors teach English to partner nations here and around the world.

The Inter-American Air Forces Academy teaches technical training in Spanish to our Latin American partners and exposes them to democratic ideals and U.S. culture.

The 37th Medical Group provides medical support from six different locations around town and focuses on trainee health every day.

Finally, the 37th Mission Support Group keeps our huge infrastructure running. They work tirelessly to make Lackland the best place in the Air Force to live and work. I think they hit the mark.

Lackland is also blessed with two other important partners: our mission partners and our schools. Our mission partners protect America and fight the GWOT daily. Their mission is very important to protecting our nation.

Here at home, our elementary, middle and high school are models for others to emulate. Once again, it's the people who make these organizations so good.

We've been lucky to get to know many former commanders of Lackland (the 37th TRW and the Air Force Military Training Center). All of them went on to what most people would consider bigger and better jobs.

One even became the commander of Air Training Command ... (now Air Education and Training Command). They all told me the same thing, "You will never have a better job than Lackland."

As Holly and I leave, we realize they were absolutely right.

There will never be a better job than working at Lackland. The reason is the wonderful people. Lackland is an important part of our Air Force Enlisted Heritage ... it's the Gateway to the Air Force.

Thanks for making this such a wonderful assignment for Holly and me and thanks for making Lackland such a special place.