The 17th Training Wing Change of Command

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta, 2nd Air Force Commander, passes the guideon to Col. Ricky Mills, 17th Training Wing Commander, at the parade field on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, July 21, 2017. The change of command ceremony is a time honored military tradition that signifies the orderly transfer of authority. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Randall Moose/Released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta, 2nd Air Force Commander, passes the guideon to Col. Ricky Mills, 17th Training Wing Commander, at the parade field on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, July 21, 2017. The change of command ceremony is a time honored military tradition that signifies the orderly transfer of authority. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Randall Moose/Released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta, 2nd Air Force Commander, passes the guideon to Col. Michael Downs, prior 17th Training Wing Commander, at the parade field on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, July 21, 2017. Downs served as the 17th TRW commander from 2015 to 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Randall Moose/Released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta, 2nd Air Force Commander, passes the guideon to Col. Michael Downs, prior 17th Training Wing Commander, at the parade field on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, July 21, 2017. Downs served as the 17th TRW commander from 2015 to 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Randall Moose/Released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta, 2nd Air Force Commander, presents the Legion of Merit award to Col. Michael Downs, 17th Training Wing Commander, at the parade field on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, July 21, 2017. The Legion of Merit is a military award of the United States Armed Forces that is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Randall Moose/Released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta, 2nd Air Force Commander, presents the Legion of Merit award to Col. Michael Downs, 17th Training Wing Commander, at the parade field on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, July 21, 2017. The Legion of Merit is a military award of the United States Armed Forces that is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Randall Moose/Released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta, 2nd Air Force Commander, presents the Legion of Merit certificate to Col. Michael Downs, 17th Training Wing Commander, at the parade field on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, July 21, 2017. Downs was the 45th base commander and commands four groups, including three geographically separated units, with the mission, “Develop Exceptional Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and Fire Protection Professionals for America and Her Allies.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Randall Moose/Released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta, 2nd Air Force Commander, presents the Legion of Merit certificate to Col. Michael Downs, 17th Training Wing Commander, at the parade field on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, July 21, 2017. Downs was the 45th base commander and commands four groups, including three geographically separated units, with the mission, “Develop Exceptional Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and Fire Protection Professionals for America and Her Allies.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Randall Moose/Released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta, 2nd Air Force Commander, thanks the 17th Training Wing for their support during the tenure of Col. Michael Downs, 17th TRW Commander, at the change of command ceremony on the parade field at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas July 21, 2017. The change of command ceremony is a time honored tradition for the orderly transfer of authority from the departing commander to the new commanding officer. The 17th Training Wing's mission is to develop and inspire exceptional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and fire protection professionals for America and her allies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Russell Stewart/Released)

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta, 2nd Air Force Commander, thanks the 17th Training Wing for their support during the tenure of Col. Michael Downs, 17th TRW Commander, at the change of command ceremony on the parade field at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas July 21, 2017. The change of command ceremony is a time honored tradition for the orderly transfer of authority from the departing commander to the new commanding officer. The 17th Training Wing's mission is to develop and inspire exceptional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and fire protection professionals for America and her allies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Russell Stewart/Released)

A firetruck gives a farewell water arc for U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Downs as he departs the parade field for his dedication as the wing commander during the 17th Training Wing change of command ceremony on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, July 21, 2017. The change of command ceremony is a time honored military tradition that signifies the orderly transfer of authority. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Scott Jackson/Released)

A firetruck gives a farewell water arc for U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Downs as he departs the parade field for his dedication as the wing commander during the 17th Training Wing change of command ceremony on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, July 21, 2017. The change of command ceremony is a time honored military tradition that signifies the orderly transfer of authority. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Scott Jackson/Released)

Goodfellow Air Force Base honor guard march on the parade field during the 17th Training Wing change of command on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, July 21, 2017. The ceremony signifies relinquishment of command from U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Downs to Col. Ricky Mills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Scott Jackson/Released)

Goodfellow Air Force Base honor guard march on the parade field during the 17th Training Wing change of command on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, July 21, 2017. The ceremony signifies relinquishment of command from U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Downs to Col. Ricky Mills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Scott Jackson/Released)

Airmen of the 17th Medical Group march on the bomb run of the parade field during the 17th Training Wing change of command on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, July 21, 2017. The ceremony signifies relinquishment of command from U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Downs to Col. Ricky Mills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Scott Jackson/Released)

Airmen of the 17th Medical Group march on the bomb run of the parade field during the 17th Training Wing change of command on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, July 21, 2017. The ceremony signifies relinquishment of command from U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Downs to Col. Ricky Mills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Scott Jackson/Released)

Goodfellow members stand at attention during the 17th Training Wing change of command ceremony on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, July 21, 2017. The change of command ceremony is a time honored military tradition that signifies the orderly transfer of authority. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Scott Jackson/Released)

Goodfellow members stand at attention during the 17th Training Wing change of command ceremony on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, July 21, 2017. The change of command ceremony is a time honored military tradition that signifies the orderly transfer of authority. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Scott Jackson/Released)

U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Andrew Armstrong, Goodfellow Marine Corps Detachment Commanding Officer, speaks with U.S. Air Force Col. Ricky Mills, 17th Training Wing Commander, at the Event Center on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, July 21, 2017. The Event Center hosted a reception inviting Goodfellow members could welcome the new commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chase Sousa/Released)
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U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Andrew Armstrong, Goodfellow Marine Corps Detachment Commanding Officer, speaks with U.S. Air Force Col. Ricky Mills, 17th Training Wing Commander, at the Event Center on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, July 21, 2017. The Event Center hosted a reception inviting Goodfellow members could welcome the new commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chase Sousa/Released)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Todd Afshar, 315th Training Squadron Flight Commander, introduces himself to Col. Ricky Mills, 17th Training Wing Commander, at the Event Center on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, July 21, 2017. Col. Mills met base personnel to learn more about the mission and the Airmen that enable it. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chase Sousa/Released)
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U.S. Air Force Capt. Todd Afshar, 315th Training Squadron Flight Commander, introduces himself to Col. Ricky Mills, 17th Training Wing Commander, at the Event Center on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, July 21, 2017. Col. Mills met base personnel to learn more about the mission and the Airmen that enable it. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chase Sousa/Released)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

The 17th Training Wing Change of Command Ceremony commenced at the traditional time of 8:17 a.m., at the Goodfellow Air Force Base parade field, 21 July.

At the ceremony Col. Michael Downs, 17TRW commander, transferred command of the wing to Col. Ricky Mills. In a symbolic exchange of authority, Col. Downs passed the unit guideon to his superior, U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta, 2nd Air Force Commander, who then passed the flag to Col. Mills.

During his time here, Downs focused his efforts on improving the base for those under his command helping to bring new businesses on base, creating new professional development courses and starting the Make Goodfellow Great initiative, a collections of interest groups ranging from anime to golf to comedy and more.

“Since Col. Downs took command here, there has been a flourishing of quality of life improvements,” said Master Sgt. Douglas Earl, 316th Training Squadron operations superintendent. “In addition, there is a visible sense of ownership and pride among the Airmen here. Gym hours, dining options, amenity renovations, hobby and interest groups, all of these are miles ahead of what was available to me when I came through training in 2006 on Goodfellow. Col. Downs did an amazing job as commander. He navigated uncertain budgets and increased demand for the Airmen we produce here, all while focusing on taking care of people. I am lucky to serve under Col. Downs multiple times in my career, and hope to have that opportunity again.”

Downs not only worked on improving the lives at Goodfellow, but also made efforts to help out locally as well. With his assistance Goodfellow and the local community signed 18 Memorandums of Understanding, which is number one out of 61 Air Force bases around the world. Memorandums of Understanding are partnerships between the community and Goodfellow to help share manning and resources.

“There is a marked difference between a good leader and a great leader … Mike Downs is a great leader,” said Dr. Carol Ann Bonds, former Air Force Chief of Staff Civic Leader Program member. “His future is bright and we have been truly blessed to have had his extraordinary leadership at our base and in our city. We are far better positioned as a vibrant installation due to your leadership, Mike.”

Col. Mills came from Ft. George Meade, Maryland, as the former 707th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group commander.