Farewell to two Team Sheppard giants

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Richard Devereaux
  • 82nd Training Wing commander
One of the constants of our military lifestyle is the seeming unending turnover of senior leadership. Every year, approximately half the commanders of our squadrons, groups, and wings change over, with the vast majority turning over during the summer months. This year has been no exception with four of our six 82 TRW group commanders turning over, along with the recent arrival of our new 82 TRW vice commander, Col "Beaz" Beasley, and his wife Deb.

And over the next 10 days we'll be saying goodbye to two more Team Sheppard giants. Col Jeff Kendall, 80 FTW/CC, and Col "Alf" Mckay, 82 MSG/CC. Let me say a few words about each.

First, Col McKay will be hanging up his Air Force uniform this Friday, 3 Aug, after his change of command ceremony, retiring after nearly 26 years of service to our Air Force and nation. Any attempt to summarize the positive impact Alf and Lydia have had on Team Sheppard in just a few words would fall far short. But I will say that Col McKay has done a tremendous job harnessing the energy and effort of our hard working MSG and making it the model support operation within AETC. Responsible for taking care of the Air Force's 3rd busiest airfield; 25,000 military/civilians/retirees/dependents; 5,000 acres; two large training wings, etc, etc, etc, the Mission Support Group has thrived under Col McKay's leadership. We wish Alf and Lydia a fond farewell as they start this next phase of their life.

I'm sure that my fellow wing commander, Col Jeff Kendall, would join me in his praise for our MSG's support to both our wings. Of course, Col Kendall will be also leaving Team Sheppard soon, with his change of command scheduled for 10 Aug. Col Kendall is headed to New York City for a very selective assignment with the Council on Foreign Relations. He'll leave Sheppard knowing that he has had an enormous impact on the quality of the Euro NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) program and has effectively begun the process to transform this program to ensure its relevancy for years to come. It's nearly impossible to exaggerate the importance and stature of the 80 FTW within our Air Force. Simply put, it is the finest international pilot training operation on the planet and I believe has made an incredible contribution to the strength of NATO and the stability and cooperation across Europe. And we in the 82 TRW have been honored and proud to be associated with the Kendalls and the 80th. Best wishes to Jeff and Lori!

Of course, with the departure of Cols Kendall and McKay, we get to welcome two great additions to Team Sheppard. Col "Mako" Petersen, incoming commander of the 80 FTW, his wife Jacquie, and family, will be arriving this week from Laughlin AFB where Col Petersen served as the OG/CC. And Col McKay's replacement, Col Rick Lipsey, his wife Cheryl, and kids, arrived this week from the Pentagon ready to take over the reigns of AETC's finest Mission Support Group. We extend a warm welcome to the Petersens and Lipseys as they join our Team Sheppard family. These "changes of command" will be a great opportunity to recognize the enormous positive impact the people of these two fine organizations have had on our base and Air Force.

Be safe Team Sheppard--we're on a roll this Summer--keep the safety streak going!