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Bell assumes command of 82nd TRW

Sheppard

Maj. Gen. Timothy Leahy, 2nd Air Force commander, passes the ceremonial guidon to Col. Kenyon K. Bell, incoming 82nd Training Wing commander, during the 82nd TRW change of command ceremony at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, June 21, 2019. Before arriving at Sheppard, Bell served at Tinker AFB as commander of the 72nd Air Base Wing. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Robert L. McIlrath)

Sheppard

Col. Kenyon K. Bell receives his first salute as commander of the 82nd Training Wing June 21, 2019, at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. Before arriving at Sheppard, Bell served at Tinker AFB, Okla., as the 72nd Air Base Wing commander. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Robert L. McIlrath)

Sheppard

Col. Kenyon K. Bell delivers remarks shortly after assuming command of the 82nd Training Wing June 21, 2019, at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. Before arriving at Sheppard, Bell served at Tinker AFB, Okla., as commander of the 72nd Air Base Wing. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Robert L. McIlrath)

Sheppard

Maj. Gen. Timothy Leahy, 2nd Air Force commander, Brig. Gen. Ronald E. Jolly Sr., outgoing 82nd Training Wing commander, and Col. Kenyon K. Bell, incoming 82nd TRW commander, applaud during a change of command ceremony June 21, 2019, at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. Before arriving at Sheppard, Bell served at Tinker AFB, Okla., as the 72nd Air Base Wing commander. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Robert L. McIlrath)

Sheppard

Brig. Gen. Ronald E. Jolly Sr., outgoing 82nd Training Wing commander, offers thanks and words of encouragement to family, friends, community leaders and Airmen of the 82nd TRW during a change of command ceremony at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, June 21, 2019. Jolly said as he leaves Sheppard, he has been inspired by the stories of other Airmen and their commitment to service to the Air Force and the country. He has been assigned to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, where he will serve as director of Logistics, Installations and Mission Support at Headquarters United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Madeleine E. Remillard)

Sheppard

Maj. Gen. Timothy Leahy (left), 2nd Air Force commander, pins the Legion of Merit decoration on Brig. Gen. Ronald E. Jolly Sr., outgoing 82nd Training Wing commander, during a change of command ceremony at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, June 21, 2019. Jolly has been assigned to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, where he will serve as director of Logistics, Installations and Mission Support at Headquarters United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Madeleine E. Remillard)

Sheppard

Brig. Gen. Ronald E. Jolly Sr. (center) hands the ceremonial guidon to Maj. Gen. Timothy J. Leahy (left), 2nd Air Force commander, as he relinquishes command of the 82nd Training Wing during a ceremony at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, June 21, 2019. Col. Kenyon K. Bell (right), incoming 82nd Training Wing commander, awaits to assume command of the largest and most diverse technical training installation in the Air Force. Jolly has been assigned to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, where he will serve as director of Logistics, Installations and Mission Support at Headquarters United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Madeleine E. Remillard)

Sheppard

Brig. Gen. Ronald E. Jolly Sr., outgoing 82nd Training Wing commander, passes the ceremonial guidon to Maj. Gen. Timothy Leahy, 2nd Air Force commander, during the 82nd TRW change of command ceremony at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, June 21, 2019. Col. Kenyon K. Bell assumed command of the 82nd TRW shortly after. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Robert L. McIlrath)

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – The career of Col. Kenyon K. Bell came full circle June 21, 2019, as he took command of the training wing under which he learned his craft as an aircraft maintenance officer roughly 24 years ago.

Bell took command of the 82nd Training Wing, the largest and most diverse technical training installation in the Air Force, during a change of command ceremony here. Maj. Gen. Timothy Leahy, 2nd Air Force commander, officiated the ceremony.

The colonel, who most recently was commander of the 72nd Air Base Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, said he is excited to be back where his career began, a place where many things have changed except for the searing and humid North Texas heat. He lauded the missions of Sheppard – enlisted and commissioned officer training at the 82nd TRW and undergraduate pilot training at the 80th Flying Training Wing – as the premier gateway for the Air Force, NATO and international partners.

“To the men and women of the 82nd Training Wing and Team Sheppard, if I haven’t told you yet, I’m excited to join you,” he said. “I will work tirelessly to know your business, advance our business and support our efforts. Every day we build a foundation upon which our nation depends on by nurturing and growing our most precious resource – the youth of our nation.”

Bell has served in leadership and staff positions at many levels of the Air Force, having experienced the end product Sheppard’s training missions sends to the field. In deployed and home station environments, he said he has seen quality Airmen successfully fulfill the mission before then.

“When people are depending on an aircraft to do a certain thing, it is very important that we have trained technicians that know what they’re doing, because not only are troops on the ground, in a lot of cases, depending on that aircraft to be able to perform at that capability, but the pilot behind that aircraft is also depending that that aircraft will be able to do what it’s supposed to do,” he said. “So, it’s tremendously important that we get it right here so that when folks go out into the field, that airplane can do exactly what it’s supposed to do for our nation.”

Leahy applauded the successes of the 82nd TRW and Sheppard under the leadership of Jolly, citing more than 125,000 Air Force and international graduates during his tenure, addressing an aircraft maintainer shortage gap of roughly 5,000, and having a direct effect on the operations tempo down range. That, he said, lets any adversary in the world know that the Air Force is “watching and ready.”

Leahy said Jolly was also part of an effort to ensure the viability of Sheppard’s existing and possible future training missions by addressing encroachment concerns. The departing wing commander also continued the “legendary relationship” the base has with surrounding community partners, one that is the envy of the Air Force.

The 82nd TRW and Sheppard won’t miss a beat under the leadership of Bell, he intimated, listing accomplishments across the Columbia, South Carolina, native’s record. He said Bell’s merits as an officer are proven by his previous performance.

“Kenyon comes to us with a record few can match,” Leahy said. “He is supremely qualified to lead this wing.”

Jolly, who departs almost two years and three months to the day after taking command in March 2017, recalled the first time he arrived at Sheppard during a visit to meet with his predecessor to begin the transition process. He was greeted by now-Senior Airman Janine Casey, an 82nd Security Forces Squadron defender working at one of the gates, with what he said was the sharpest salute he had received in some time.

“First impressions are lasting impressions,” he said. “That first impression told me this is going to be good. It’s going to be great to be here at Sheppard. I have not been disappointed.”

He said the mission of Sheppard is to train, develop and inspire Airmen, but it is he who is leaving inspired, specifically by an Airman who was homeless before enlisting to serve and help his family, and an Airman who began his career as a member of the enlisted corps, recently commissioned and will soon begin pilot training.

“We train hard. We do everything we can to develop you. And one of the most difficult challenges is inspiring you,” he said. “But I have to tell you, I’m inspired by you.”

Jolly will next serve at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, as director of Logistics, Installations and Mission Support at Headquarters United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa.