Burks set to lead, change and win as 82nd MDG commander

  • Published
  • By John Ingle
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – The Mustang Medics of the 82nd Medical Group welcomed new leadership during a change of command ceremony here June 16, 2021, at the Sheppard Club.

Col. Felicia L. Burks took command of the group from Col. Kevin J. McCal, who led the medical treatment center operations since June 2018. Brig. Gen. Kenyon K. Bell, 82nd Training Wing commander, officiated the ceremony.

“I will continue to lead us through this COVID-19 recovery; diversity, inclusion and belonging; medical readiness; this MilCon (military construction) project; and any other unforeseen challenge we may face,” she said. “As we embrace Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s vision to “Accelerate Change or Lose,” we will reinforce it with Surgeon General Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Robert I. Miller’s vision to lead, change and win.”

Burks comes to Sheppard after previously serving as chief of the Air Force’s Diversity and Inclusion Division at the Office of the Air Force Surgeon General in Falls Church, Virginia. She began her military career in October 1993 as an enlisted logistics specialist in the Army before earning her commission. She later transitioned to the Air Force and attended the Health Administration Course here at Sheppard in 2006 before taking on the duties of medical readiness flight commander at Langley AFB, Virginia.

Bell lauded Burks for her accomplishments throughout her career, listing them for the Mustang Medics in the audience so they can understand the “rock star” who will now lead them. In addition to her acumen as a medical administrator, he said it is a remarkable time to have a leader with specific Diversity and Inclusion skills as part of the team.

Burks’ determination to succeed goes beyond the uniform and desire to serve. She is also a cancer survivor, the general said.

“You are getting an absolute rock star,” Bell said. “One who takes care of the mission, and one who takes care of people.”

Bell also applauded and thanked McCal for his steadfastness during insurmountable challenges over the past few years: Leading the medical group through a structural change as the mission realigns under the Defense Health System, and a global pandemic that threatened the mission of Sheppard, among others.

The general said McCal’s previous assignments as deputy commander of the Air Force’s School of Aerospace Medicine as well as deputy medical group commander at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, prepared him for the role of leading the medical group charged with providing care for the most diverse training installation in the Air Force.

“So you see, Kevin, you’ve accomplished quite a bit and have left strong imprints on this unit and this base,” Bell said.

McCal said commanding the 82nd MDG has been the pinnacle of his Air Force career, and it’s a bittersweet moment to say goodbye. He thanked Bell for his mentorship and leadership over the past two years, specifically when navigating the COVID-19 environment and establishing policy to protect the installation.

“To remove the command badge will be very difficult for me to do,” he said. “That said, there is a bit of excitement with the next command.”

McCal’s next stop in his career is Hurlburt Field, Florida, where he will service as deputy surgeon general for Air Force Special Operations Command.