BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - In a centuries old tradition, airmen, sailors, marines, and civilians gathered at Keesler's parade grounds to welcome a new commander. The searing heat kept the usual parade at a standstill, but it couldn't stop the formal change of command from one great leader to another.
With an ancient symbolic gesture, Brigadier General Andrew Mueller assumed command from Brigadier General Ian Dickinson as he took hold of the flags that represent Keesler Air Force Base.
Mueller, his wife Keri, and their three children have spent the past year in Turkey, and say they're very pleased to make south Mississippi their new home.
"While I've never had the privilege to train here at Keesler, I come to Keesler with a very clear vision of training to the Air Force mission," says Mueller
Brigadier General Ian Dickinson prepared to leave for his new assignment in Colorado, he told those who gathered at Keesler it had been an honor to serve as their leader.
"I'm sad to leave because this has truly been the best assignment that we have ever had in our Air Force career."
Dickinson has been overseeing the day to day operations of the base for the past 15 months. Major General Mary Kay Hertog, Commander of the 2nd Air Force, said he has left a lasting impression on the base and the people.
"His footprints are all over this base and his accomplishments are many," explained Hertog. "All you have to do is look around the base and the results speak for themselves."
"We've invested in Keesler's future," said Dickinson. "And investing in Keesler's future is investing in the air force's future, because that's what we do here. We provide the future force of our United states Air Force."
Brigadier General Mueller agrees that Keesler provides the foundation for everything the Air Force does.
He told his new training wing he wanted to support "Your individual efforts to make a contribution to the mission of the 81st training wing: Train to fight. Train to win."
General Mueller comes to South Mississippi from his assignment in Turkey where he was Deputy Commander of Combined Air Operations Center 6, Allied Air Forces Southern Europe, NATO.