403rd Wing changes command at Keesler AFB

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The 403rd Wing at Keesler, which includes both the Hurricane Hunters and the Flying Jennies,  has a new leader. Col. Jay Jensen assumed command from Brigadier General James Muscatell during a change of command ceremony Thursday morning.

The change of command took place in Keesler's new event center.

Outgoing commander, Brigadier General James Muscatell has led the 403rd Air Force Reserve Wing for the past two years. In 2010, it received the Air Force "Outstanding Unit" award.

Major General James Rubeor is commander of the 22nd Air Force.

"Jim, you have done a fantastic job here. As you look back on your time and all the inspections and accomplishments, we talk about the operational reserve and the high ops tempo. You have led thee airmen through difficult times and they have responded to your leadership," he told the outgoing commander.

Brig. Gen. Muscatell praised his troops for their accomplishments.

"In a few short years, you've increased medical readiness to one of the best. We've gone from 20 percent attrition to three and a half percent. And historically you've been the best first and second term airmen retention in the reserve command," he told them.

The outgoing commander said the men and women of the 403rd demonstrate leadership daily.

"It's the little acts of leadership that make you so successful. You see something that needs to be done, you jump in and do it. That's what makes the 403rd the wing of choice," he said.

Incoming commander, Colonel Jay Jensen served at Keesler from 1999 to 2009. He said upcoming budget cuts will reduce capacity and capability, making it critical to focus on the primary goal.

"And the number one goal is to continue to be the most economical, strategic reserve for our nation's defense," said Col. Jensen.

Gen. Rubeor made it official, presiding over the traditional passing of the command flag.

Brig. Gen. Muscatell is headed to a new assignment with transportation command at Scott AFB in Illinois.

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