KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss.-- Team Keesler welcomed the newest commander of the 81st Training Wing, the host wing of Keesler Air Force Base, during a change of command at the Levitow Training Support Facility, June 17.
Col. William H. Hunter assumed command of the 81st TRW from outgoing commander Col. Heather W. Blackwell during a change of command ceremony officiated by Maj. Gen. Andrea Tullos, Second Air Force commander.
“Thank you for your trust and confidence in selecting me and my family to lead the Airmen and families of the 81st TRW,” said Hunter. “The Hunter family is fully invested in the success of Keesler.”
As the 81st TRW commander since 2019, Blackwell led approximately 12,000 Airmen and civilians, providing in support of technical training for officers, enlisted and civilians in over 120 career fields including cyber, medical, weather, personnel, comptroller and informational management.
“Thank you Keesler for making me a better wingman, leader and warrior,” said Blackwell. “I will never leave an Airmen, Sailor, Marine, Soldier, Guardian, Coast Guardsman, civilian or family member behind. I will not falter and because of you, we will not fail.”
Tullos communicated her appreciation of Blackwell’s leadership throughout the last two years, where she led the 81st TRW to achieve Air Education and Training Command priorities.
“I watched you put your heart and soul into the wing, our mission partners, this community and the needs of the nation,” said Tullos. “You and your team should be very proud of the example you set for resiliency, connectedness, and mission effectiveness and your delivery of air power anytime and anywhere.”
Tullos said Hunter’s leadership is vital toward leading 81st TRW going forward and continuing to achieve command goals in support of the AETC mission of recruiting, training and educating exceptional Airmen.
“The team you now have is prepared to take your wing to the next level,” said Tullos. “They will work hard and make lasting memories, creating a championship team.”
In the conclusion of his remarks, Col. Hunter communicated his confidence and appreciation for the Keesler community.
“To the men and women of the 81st TRW: You are at the forefront of producing the next generation of warfighters,” said Hunter. “Thank you for your tireless work, dedication to the mission and professionalism. I am honored to be your new wing commander and look forward to serving alongside each of you and continuing the momentum of this awesome installation.”
Hunter is the 48th commander to lead the installation since its activation in 1941. Coming from Hurlburt Field, Florida, as the 1st Special Operations Mission Support Group commander, Hunter will take the Keesler mission on next as the new 81st TRW commander.