Goodfellow vice commander heads south

Colonel Merrily Madero, 17th Training Wing vice commander, rides a stallion, Lance, during the 2008 San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo Parade. Colonel Madero will head to her next assignment at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, in April. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Angela Malek)

Colonel Merrily Madero, 17th Training Wing vice commander, rides a stallion, Lance, during the 2008 San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo Parade. Colonel Madero will head to her next assignment at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, in April. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Angela Malek)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- This coming April, Col. Merrily Madero, 17th Training Wing vice commander, will leave for her new assignment as Air Education and Training Command director of staff at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. In this new position, Col. Madero will work directly for Gen. Stephen Lorenz, AETC commander. When she leaves, Goodfellow will lose a fine officer and a lady who has become a fixture of the San Angelo community.

"I'm very excited about this new opportunity, but very sad to go," Col. Madero said. "San Angelo and Goodfellow have been wonderful to me, and being three hours down the road, I'm sure I'll come back to visit." The vice commander said she had never lived on base before coming to Goodfellow, and enjoyed being a part of the community here.

"My favorite thing has been the people," she said. "I love to interact with the permanent party, but I especially enjoy speaking with the new technical training students straight from Basic Military Training and the new intelligence officer students as well," she added. "I like to hear why they joined the military, and to speak to the new officers about good officership."

Colonel Madero said her impression of the base has not changed since her first day: "Wow, we really make a difference!" Still, she credits Col. Richard Ayres, 17 TRW commander, and the members of the 17th Training Group with keeping intelligence training current with technology and forcing the system to be more agile.

"Staying up to date is critical for the intelligence world," Col. Madero said. "By doing so, we're preparing Airmen to leave here ready to fight the war." The vice commander added that despite her background as a communications officer, she has spend more time working in intelligence squadrons, which she said better prepared her for her assignment at Goodfellow.

While at Goodfellow, Col. Madero said she has gained a familiarization with AETC and how technical training works, which will help her in her upcoming position. Furthermore, she said, her experience managing the 17 TRW staff agencies is similar on a smaller scale to what a director of staff does.

Colonel Madero added that she was proud of several of the projects she has worked on at Goodfellow, specifically the implementation of the NSPS program as well as the history display in the wing conference room - a joint project with former wing historian Dr. John Garrett. On a personal level, she received a bachelor's degree in theology and has volunteered nearly 300 hours of her time toward the San Angelo community.

"The San Angelo community has really touched me," Col. Madero said. "In my 24 years in the Air Force, I have never felt such a love of the military. From our Congressional leaders to our close bond with the city to our work with the Angelo State University and Reserve Officer Training Corps detachment, I am truly going to miss representing this base," Col. Madero added. "I am very grateful."