BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - There's a new commander at Keesler Air Force Base. Brigadier General Patrick Higby assumed command of the 81st training wing during a ceremony Friday morning.
The incoming commander says he's humbled by his appointment and excited about the challenges ahead.
He replaces Brigadier General Brad Spacy, who's headed for a new assignment in Europe. General Spacy leaves behind quite a legacy during his 15 months at Keesler. Under his leadership, Keesler received the Air Force's "Installation of Excellence" award.
The outgoing commander says he saw excellence all around the Biloxi base when he first arrived.
"As you looked into the eyes of every airman out there, you saw potential. You saw potential and you saw an eagerness to show us what they could do. Not just us, but show the world. Sometimes they didn't know what that potential was, but they knew they had it," said Gen. Spacy.
His boss, the commander of Second Air Force, credits Gen. Spacy's leadership for helping Keesler realize that potential.
"He brought a special confidence and pride to this job. But he also brought a spirit of competition. And he challenges his folks each and every day, not to just set the bar, but to exceed it," said Gen. Leonard Patrick.
The traditional "passing of the flag" signaled the formal change in base leadership.
The new commander, Gen. Patrick Higby, says while he's humbled to be following in Gen. Spacy's footsteps, he's also excited by the opportunity and challenges which lie ahead.
"I just pray that the good Lord would give me the wisdom, as you heard in the invocation, the wisdom of Solomon to know how to serve you well in this capacity," Gen. Patrick Higby told the crowd, "I view this as an opportunity to be a servant to you and to the airmen that are standing back there and all the great things that they can do."
The departing general had a final reminder for his troops.
"You took an oath. You told America you would be there. And America is counting on you," he said.
Gen. Spacy's new assignment is with the U.S. Air Forces in Europe.
The new commander, Gen. Patrick Higby, comes to South Mississippi from Washington, DC, where he most recently served as deputy commander of the White House communication agency.