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News > Liddick takes command of Air Force Basic Military Training
New BMT Commander
Col. Mark Camerer, 37th Training Wing commander, left, presents the 737th Training Group guidon to incoming commander Col. Deborah J. Liddick as Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth Williams, 737th TRG superintendent, looks on during the assumption of command ceremony Sept. 21 on the parade grounds at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Liddick commands the Air Force’s only basic military training group. (U.S. Air Force photo/Robbin Cresswell)
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Liddick takes command of Air Force Basic Military Training

Posted 9/27/2012   Updated 9/27/2012 Email story   Print story


by Mike Joseph
JBSA-Lackland Public Affairs

9/27/2012 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Barely into her first day as the 737th Training Group commander, the new senior leader of Air Force Basic Military Training said she expects her job at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland to be "an absolutely great tour."

"I am going to soak it in, minute by minute," said Col. Deborah Liddick, who assumed command of the 737th TRG in a ceremony at the base parade grounds Sept. 21.

"I'm going to enjoy every moment here, just like I enjoyed every moment of command for the last two years in the 56th Maintenance Group," she said. "I'm excited and truly honored to be here."

In introductory remarks, Col. Mark Camerer, 37th Training Wing commander, said Liddick "is ready for this command. She is a respected and capable leader.

"There is much to accomplish and these Airmen need your leadership, mentorship and guidance," Camerer said as he addressed BMT's new commander.

Liddick, a 23-year veteran, led the largest fighter maintenance group in the Air Force at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., from July 2010 to July 2012. More than 2,600 personnel, 138 F-16 aircraft, and an annual $144 million budget flourished under her direction.

As BMT commander, Liddick now leads the Air Force's largest training group, with its nine squadrons, more than 650 permanent party personnel and a daily student population that averages 6,000.

Between leaving Luke and arriving at JBSA-Lackland, Liddick was maintenance division chief at Air Education and Training Command headquarters, JBSA-Randolph.

"I had just joined the AETC staff when I was called into General Rice's (AETC Commander Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr.) office about the job. I was surprised, but I was also excited," said Liddick. "It was an honor just to be considered, and I was truly honored to be selected."

During her brief remarks at the ceremony, Liddick charged the group's Airmen to focus on the mission, be good wingmen, and live by the Air Force Core Values of "Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do."

"I see the training environment as a team effort, so I expect us to work together and help each other," she said.

In light of recent sexual assault charges, and subsequent investigations and courts-martial involving Air Force basic military training instructors, Liddick said living the Air Force Core Values and teamwork are elements needed to change how BMT is currently perceived by the news media and the general public.

"I expect to be the role model," the new commander said. "I live by the core values. We have to show it in everything we do - from our job to our personal life.

"This is going to be a team effort, not an individual one," she said. "The times I've been most successful in my career are when I had a strong team around me. I think we have a strong team here, and I know they do a good job because I've seen the results. The Airmen coming out of basic training are motivated, disciplined, excited and proud."
After assuming command, in a press conference to accommodate local and national media, Liddick responded when asked the same question about a female leading the group.

"I am a United States Air Force officer, a colonel," she said. "I am a group commander who happens to be a female. It doesn't matter whether I'm male or female. I love being a commander - that's my passion - and I love being part of the team."

Liddick is the fourth female to lead basic training, the first since 2006. The previous three female BMT commanders were eventually promoted to general in their careers.

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