BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The change of command at Keesler Air Force Base on Thursday was a showcase of military precision. There were Snappy salutes as far as the eye could see and a tribute to the nation.
The man in charge of all Air Force training spoke about the past 20 years. That is Gen. Robin Rand of the Air Education and Training Command.
"During every one of those years, our Air Force has been engaged in combat, and the men and women assigned to 2nd Air Force have answered the call," Rand said.
The outgoing commander of 2nd Air Force, Maj. Gen. Leonard Patrick, had some advice for the hundreds of young airmen standing at attention.
"Remember where you came from. Don't look back, go forward. Your future is so bright, and the men and women that are out leading in front of you right now are the reason you have that opportunity," Patrick said.
The official change of command then took place, followed by high praise from new commander Brig. Gen. Mark Brown.
"It's a great day to be one airman amongst many in the greatest Air Force in the world. All of you out there need to know and all of you in the stands, I know that you already know, this is the greatest Air Force in the world," Brown exclaimed.
Obviously, there was a lot of pomp and circumstance at Thursday's change of command ceremony on Keesler, but after the ceremony was over, there was also a lot of concern from the new commander. There is concern about the future of the military budget.
"It is a resource constraint environment. Our chief has made it very clear that if you sequester us in 2016, if the defense budget is sequestered and you take $12.5 billion out, that you can't do that without some mission impact, and we know that," Brown explained.
The ceremony ended with a parade of hundreds of airmen, all ready to start a new chapter in their lives under new guidance.
Prior to this assignment, Brown was comptroller for the Air Force material command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. He has also served tours of duty in the Philippines, Spain, England, Turkey and Iraq.