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37th Training Group changes commanders; Exiting group leader calls her assignment 'a fantastic experience'

By Mike Joseph | JBSA-Lackland Public Affairs | July 30, 2014

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas — When the 37th Training Group senior leader arrived in August 2012 to assume command of technical training here, there was a smile on her face and excitement in her voice.

Two years later, as Col. Jeanne Hardrath leaves JBSA-Lackland for her next assignment, the ever-present smile and the excited tone in her voice are still there.

"This has been a fantastic experience," Hardrath said, "and it's because of the men and women in this group: the instructors, MTLs (military training leaders) and cadre members who make this mission happen every day.

"The group's squadron commanders are the greatest collection of leaders I've had the pleasure of working with. They took on every challenge with a positive attitude and made my job easy. What they do every day is felt across DOD (the Department of Defense)."

Hardrath turned over leadership of the group to Col. (Sel.) Thomas Sherman during a change of command ceremony Thursday.

She said the importance of the group's mission could always turn a trying day into a good one.

"Being associated with this group you get to make an important difference in the Air Force," Hardrath said. "Every day I got to insure the future of our Air Force because of the men and women in the 37th Training Group.

"To see how hard our team works to make this mission happen kept me motivated. Our team inspired me every day. I couldn't help but want to double my efforts."

Hardrath said her biggest challenges during her time as group commander were working through manpower reductions, sequestration and furloughs.

"If I never live through another sequestration and furlough I'll a very happy camper," she said with a laugh. "Facing manning cuts has been really challenging because I know how hard our team members work and the additional load they had to take on.

"But it was amazing to watch how everybody dug in, how they were willing to take these outside-of-the-box innovative ideas to still make the mission happen despite the manning shortages. They just kept running. They will take on anything and keep going."

The commander, who has been associated with the Air Force for 29 years (23 years on active duty, four years in the Guard and two years in the Reserve Officer Training Corps), said listening to what Airmen had to say as they went through technical training confirmed the group was on the right track.

"When I talk to our newest Airmen, they are excited about going into the Air Force," Hardrath said. "They are absolutely thrilled about their career fields, excited about what they do and staying motivated.

"That speaks volumes to me about what our instructors, MTLs and squadron leadership are doing every day."

Hardrath, a logistics readiness officer, is looking forward to her assignment at the Pentagon, Headquarters Air Force, as chief of material support for logistics, and installations and mission support.

"It's a great opportunity to get back into a logistics-focused job," she said. "I've been outside of the more traditional logistics readiness officers' assignments for a couple of years, so I'm looking forward to it. It is, however, very difficult to leave this job. I will never have another opportunity to work with a team who has such a great impact on the future of our Air Force. "