Second Air Force welcomes new commander

Second Air Force welcomes new commander
Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta took the new leadership role during a traditional change of command ceremony on the parade field at Keesler Air Force Base. (Photo source: WLOX)
Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta took the new leadership role during a traditional change of command ceremony on the parade field at Keesler Air Force Base. (Photo source: WLOX)

KEESLER AFB, BILOXI (WLOX) - There's a new leader of Second Air Force.

That group, based at Keesler in Biloxi, comprises four training wings and more than 100 training units around the world.

Leadership changed Friday morning, at a change of command ceremony. Steeped in military tradition, the change of command dates back to Frederick the Great of Prussia.

"Have the colors brought forward," Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson instructed.

Headquartered at Keesler, Second Air Force provides training in more than 390 Air Force specialties; graduating some 150,000 students a year.

"The mission of Second Air Force is to produce the world's best trained combat forces," said Gen. Roberson, "Boy, do you all deliver."

Maj. Gen. Mark Brown was welcomed just two years ago by a similar event on the same parade field. But on Friday, the troops and leadership bid him farewell.

"Mark, your visionary leadership at Second Air Force has been phenomenal. Once again, you've carried the mantle of command well. With distinctive dignity and honor," said Gen. Roberson.

That mantle of command changes hands with another tradition: the passing of the flag. Gen. Brown passes the leadership to the new commander of Second Air Force, Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta.

The outgoing commander credits his troops for providing inspiration.

"The last two years, if nothing else, has increased my belief in you. It has been this belief, proven over and over again, by airmen like you, that makes this command truly the honor of my life," said Brown.

The incoming leader, Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta, welcomes the opportunity to command Second Air Force, even at a time when budget constraints can prove challenging to leadership.

"You've established a superb reputation of mission accomplishment. Your impressive record of performance clearly indicates that you are producing the world's greatest airmen for the world's greatest Air Force," LaBrutta said.

Prior to his new assignment in Biloxi, LaBrutta was commander of the 502nd Air Base Wing in San Antonio, Texas.

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