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Drew takes command of 82nd TRW, set to develop Airmen AF needs

  • Published
  • By Michelle Martin
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – The career of Brig. Gen. Lyle K. Drew is as vast and comprehensive as the newest command position he assumed here July 15, 2021.

The newly minted brigadier general took command of 82nd Training Wing, the largest and most diverse of the four technical wings in Air Education and Training Command and Air Force, during a change of command ceremony here. Maj. Gen. Andrea D. Tullos, 2nd Air Force commander, officiated the ceremony.

Drew, who comes to Sheppard from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, said he looks forward to working as a team to continue to write a great story at Sheppard with boundless opportunities. He expressed the importance of the role of innovation in training the next group of Airmen, noting wars are not merely won with technology and machines, but with a more powerful weapons system within the strength of an Airman.

“If we are going to accelerate change and not lose, we need to find new and innovative ways to improve how we train and develop the next generation of American Airmen,” Drew said. “What you produce will decide how strong our Air Force will be. Now we must train, motivate and inspire them to be their best.”

Drew, who was most recently the director of staff at Air Force Materiel Command, has served in a variety of leadership positions involving aircraft maintenance, acquisition program management and professional military education both within the continental United States and abroad. His array of experience serves as the foundation for leading the three training groups under the 82nd TRW, a mission support group, a medical group, and provide support services to the 80th Flying Training Wing’s Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program.

Drew thanked the men and women of Sheppard AFB and the important mission they carry out daily as the Air Force’s premiere training installation.

“Without you, we cannot train and that is why this base is the best place to live, learn, love and raise a great cadre of Airmen,” he said. “As we move forward, all that I ask is that you love what you do and you love those who you serve, because that’s our most powerful strength. What you do does not matter as much as what you believe. Being a warrior and being a leader is not an (Air Force Specialty Code), it’s a condition of the heart. We are all Airmen first. I look forward to serving you every day. Combat capability starts here. Always aim high.”

Tullos said Drew is the right leader at the right time for Sheppard to keep fighting through and competing to win. She said his expansive experience in a variety of corners of the Air Force throughout his career has prepared him for this unique assignment, but also the opportunity to put his own touch on the installation’s missions.

“You’ll bring an engineering mind and a business and industry perspective to our efforts to transform the learning environment, treat dorms as a weapon system, build an agile training pipeline and develop the Airmen we need,” she said. “You’ll bring your leadership skills from three previous commands to forge a team who will set the Air Force and Joint Force foundation for maintenance, logistics, engineering, munitions, and out nuclear forces.

“And for someone who is as comfortable on the flightline as you are in the classroom, what better place then where the 80th and 82nd training wings combine to produce the next generation of Airmen who will fly, fight and win.”

Before the passing of the guidon from one commander to the next, Tullos recognized the many successes of Brig. Gen. Kenyon K. Bell, acknowledging the fingerprints the 82nd TRW has on the world. She spoke of his ability to continue to train, partner with sister services, and keep the training pipeline open despite the challenges of COVID-19 and the severe winter storm that left much of Texas without power in February 2021.

She described Bell as “a fearless adapter” and one who looked for ways to make Airmen and the wing better, stronger, more lethal, ready and effective. 

“In a command which prides itself on carrying torches, under General Bell’s leadership, Sheppard’s torch is blazing across 10 major commands in every corner of the Air Force,” Tullos said. “That’s what I want everyone to remember.”

For Bell, being in command at Sheppard brought him full circle in his career since he had learned his craft as an aircraft maintenance officer roughly 26 years ago.

“I came in excited. I expressed that excitement,” he said. “While I am still excited today, I am now leaving inspired. I am inspired to the dedication to duty of so many different entities that we have here.”

He recognized the collective level of hard work and dedication to duty by all the groups within the 82nd TRW, listing the many members and teammates which helped make his tenure a success. He left his Sheppard team with one final thought: “I will never forget that combat capability starts right here.” 

Bell will next serve at Air Force Global Strike Command, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, as director of Logistics and Engineering.