We're at war, too

Brig. Gen. Richard Devereaux takes the flag of the 82nd Training Wing Aug. 25 from Maj. Gen. Michael Gould, 2nd Air Force commander. General Devereaux took command from Brig. Gen. James Whitmore during the early morning ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sandy Wassenmiller)

Brig. Gen. Richard Devereaux takes the flag of the 82nd Training Wing Aug. 25 from Maj. Gen. Michael Gould, 2nd Air Force commander. General Devereaux took command from Brig. Gen. James Whitmore during the early morning ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo/Sandy Wassenmiller)

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The 82nd Training Wing's new commander made his message loud and clear Aug. 25 during a change of command ceremony at the parade field - we, too, are at war. 

"Our Airmen are going to war," said Brig. Gen. Richard Devereaux, "and because they are, we in Air Education and Training Command must consider ourselves at war, too. We must strive to deliver the best possible graduates to our Air Force, as well as our sister services and international partners, so they can support, fight and win their battles abroad." 

General Devereaux took command from Brig. Gen. James Whitmore. General Whitmore's new assignment will be at the Pentagon. 

Maj. Gen. Michael Gould, 2nd Air Force commander, presided over the ceremony.
The general said the "stakes of this war are very high," and graduates of Sheppard's technical training courses are critical to the security of the United States and the freedoms this military is defending around the world. 

General Devereaux said he is already passionate about Sheppard's mission. He said there isn't another base in the Air Force that has more of an impact on global operations. 

"Our focus here at Sheppard is, and will be, to deliver the best possible graduates we can for our great Air Force," he said. "What makes our Air Force so great is the quality of our people." 

The general didn't discount the important relationship between the base and surrounding communities. He said most bases across the country enjoy good support from their community partners. 

"Sheppard has a reputation of exceptional support from its community and we are blessed to be the beneficiaries of such awesome support," General Devereaux said. 

Perhaps the one thing the new commander was most thankful for was inheriting a wing that already has an outstanding track record, a trend he plans to continue. 

"Under General Whitmore's leadership, you leaders have established a reputation of training excellence that is known across the Air Force, and frankly, around the world," he said. "I look forward to leading with you and carrying on that great reputation." General Whitmore stressed the wing's importance to the overall mission of the Air Force before he relinquished command. He said he fully appreciated why and how combat capability starts here. 

The out-going general then turned his attention toward his successor and wife, Elizabeth, and provided one final word of advice. 

"You're in for the ride of your life," General Whitmore said. "Fasten your seat belt and hold on tight." 

General Devereaux is 1978 honor graduate of the Air Force Academy. He's a command pilot with more than 3,800 flying hours in the T-37 Tweet, C-5 Galaxy and KC-135 Stratotanker. His decorations and awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Achievement Medal, Combat Readiness Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with a bronze star, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.