Ploetz takes command of 82nd Training Group Published July 13, 2022 By 2nd Lt. Ebony Bryant 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – The 82nd Training Group welcomed new leadership July 8, 2022, when Col. Charles G. Ploetz took command of the organization known as Aircraft Maintenance University. Col. Kirk W. Peterson, 82nd Training Wing vice commander, officiated the ceremony that saw Col. John C. Lofton the III relinquish command. Ploetz entered Air Force active duty in the in May 2000 after the successful completion of ROTC at the University of Texas at San Antonio. In his new position, he will be responsible for much of initial and follow-on training for the major career fields of aircraft maintenance. The new group commander expressed his excitement to join Sheppard in training the world’s best Airmen. “To the men and women of the 82nd Training Group, it is truly an honor to have the opportunity to work alongside you to continue to train the most lethal maintenance professionals in the world,” he said. “The work you do is awe inspiring and again, my family and I are ecstatic to be part of this incredible team and Team Sheppard.” Ploetz also thanked his family for their support throughout his career and their continued support as he leads the 82nd TRG. Peterson said that while Ploetz was new to Sheppard, he was no stranger to Texas. “You have a great team here at Sheppard Air Force Base,” he said. “I am confident that you will continue to meet the challenges head-on and exceed expectations to ensure we train the world’s best Airmen –, defending our nation one graduate at a time.” Lofton, who received the Legion of Merit award before relinquishing command, expressed his passion for taking care of one another in his parting words to the group. “Take care of the folks and they will take care of the mission,” he said. “I believe a good offense is a firm defense, and my offensive input to our Air Force was to put out as many Airman that are confident and capable of doing the mission that we put before them.” Lofton said he is confident that the next generation of Airmen will be the ones to help transform training for the better. Lofton is set to retire at a later date this year.