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News > Change of Command, Monterey Airmen say farewell to first 517th TRG Commander
517th Training Group Change of Command
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif.- Col. Thomas Geary, 17th Training Wing Commander passes the guidon to incoming 517th Training Group Commander, Lt. Col. Laura Ryan, during the Change of Command ceremony June 9. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sal Marullo)
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Change of Command, Monterey Airmen say farewell to first 517th TRG Commander

Posted 6/14/2011   Updated 6/14/2011 Email story   Print story


by By Lt. Col. Donna O'Harren
311th Training Squadron

6/14/2011 - PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. --  It was a cool, overcast afternoon, typical Summer weather in Monterey when the men and women of the 517th Training Group lined Soldier Field overlooking Monterey Bay to honor the outgoing Commander, Col. William "Terry" Bare, and to welcome the new Commander, Lt. Col. Laura Ryan on June 9.

The Commander of the 17th Training Wing, Col. Thomas Geary, presided over the ceremony with Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Brendan Criswell, and his wife in attendance.

It was an awesome Air Force presence, with more than a 1,000 Airmen looking sharp in service dress blues, proudly representing their command. The ceremony captured a perfect blend of humor, seriousness, and heart. Both the outgoing and incoming commanders expressed their pride in the Airmen and their outstanding accomplishments.

In his speech, Colonel Geary remarked he was humbled by the hard work, dedication and accomplishments of Colonel Bare, and his distinction as the "first" commander of the 517th TRG, at the helm when the Group initially stood up in May 2009. Colonel Bare was awarded the Legion of Merit for serving with such distinction. In welcoming Lt. Col. Ryan, Colonel Geary highlighted her strong professional background in the intelligence field and her seasoned leadership experience over the course of her career.

Before transferring the guidon, in his remarks, Colonel Bare said, "Thank you all for three wonderful years," adding how proud he was with his leadership team here, from his squadron commanders to his senior enlisted leaders.

He also expressed appreciation to the community leaders in attendance and remarked on the strong relationship between the Defense Language Institute and the community, and the outstanding support from the community towards the Air Force and DLI as a whole.

Quoting the Commander of 2nd Air Force, Maj. Gen. Mary Kay Hertog, Colonel Bare paraphrased, "Success isn't measured by the rank on your shoulder or the medals on your chest, but by the difference you've made along the way," adding "I hope we have made a difference."

Colonel Bare paused to recognize and congratulate Chief Master Sgt. Leo Chang, acting 517th TRG Superintendent and bearer of the Group guidon for the ceremony, on his selection for promotion to Chief, which had just been announced that morning by Colonel Geary and Chief Criswell during a breakfast gathering with Air Force leadership at the Presidio of Monterey.

He paid special tribute to Col. Darcy Brewer, Army Garrison Commander, Presidio of Monterey, and Col. Danial Pick, Commandant of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, coining them for their outstanding support. Before transferring the guidon, Colonel Bare promised Lt. Col. Ryan "I know you'll have great success," closing with "It's been fun, it's been hard, but man, it's been rewarding!"

After accepting the guidon, Lt. Col. Ryan kept her speech brief so as not to delay the post-ceremony refreshments all had been eagerly anticipating. She thanked Colonel Geary for his faith in her to take on this great mission and to take care of the Airmen here, adding heartfelt thanks to her family for their inspiration and support. She promised to continue her passion for taking care of Airmen.

The ceremony concluded with a stirring rendition of the Air Force song led by the 517th TRG choir, an exuberant "Aim High" shout, and a new Group formation photo snap to commemorate the day. A perfect end to a perfect ceremony.

Colonel Bare, a career Intelligence Officer, will be heading to a new assignment with US Cyber Command at Ft. Meade as the Director of Legislative Affairs. Lt. Col. Ryan, also a career Intelligence Officer, came to Monterey from the Joint Staff J7 Directorate. Lt. Col. Ryan will also assume duties as the Assistant Commandant of DLIFLC, just as Colonel Bare served in his dual-hatted role. The men and women of 517th TRG will miss Colonel Bare and wish him and his family all the very best, and we are happy to welcome Lt. Col. Ryan and her family aboard and look forward to continuing to soar to new heights in carrying out the 517th TRG mission under her command. "Aim High - Fly, Fight, Win!"

 ( Sarah Joers, 311th Training Squadron, contributed to this article)

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