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.