There's a new commander at Keesler Air Force Base. General William Lord is leaving the 81st Training Wing for a new assignment at the Pentagon.
General Lord is credited with many accomplishments during his 18 month command at Keesler. But, as you might expect, this tour of duty will be largely defined by his leadership following Hurricane Katrina.
General William Lord inspected the troops one final time Tuesday morning. He took command of "Team Keesler" in April of last year, but perhaps his true legacy began on August 29th.
"Bill Lord's tour here at Keesler will forever be defined by Katrina," said General Michael Gould, during his remarks at the change of command.
The 2nd Air Force commander says Gen. Lord's response to the hurricane was remarkable.
"Bill exhibited some combat leadership at its finest. In the heat of battle, General Lord's quick and decisive action led to the successful evacuation of more than 10 thousand people and secured shelter for another six thousand members and their families," said Gen. Gould.
With the mark of a good leader, General Lord was quick to credit those under his command for their quick response after the hurricane.
"In this midst of this rush, Keesler personnel showed their true mettle, rising to the occasion, overcoming their own apprehension and ignoring their own losses to do their duty and a lot more," said General Lord.
The flag and command were handed over to General Paul Capasso. This new leader of the 81st Training Wing recognizes the challenges which remain in helping the base recover from its one billion dollars in hurricane damages.
"Despite your personal losses and sacrifices and the training mission setback that occurred from Hurricane Katina, you have seen every challenge as an opportunity and every hardship as a chance to overcome adversity," said Gen. Capasso.
Gen. Lord is leaving Keesler for a promotion and position in the Pentagon. But he promised not to forget these memorable months in Biloxi.
"We'll miss this mission. We'll miss all of you and your spirit. And we'll miss helping you rebuild a better Keesler Air Force base," said Gen. Lord.
General Capasso comes to Biloxi from Scott Air Force Base, Illinois where he served as director of command, control and computer systems.