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11th Wing, JBA welcomes new commander

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Maj. Gen. James A. Jacobson, left, commander of the Air Force District of Washington and the 320th Air Expeditionary Wing, presents Col. Andrew M. Purath with the 11th Wing guidon in a change of command ceremony on Joint Base Andrews, Md., July 10, 2018. Purath was previously the vice commander of the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing, Southwest Asia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Michael S. Murphy)

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Col. Andrew M. Purath, new 11th Wing and Joint Base Andrews commander, salutes as he marches during a change of command ceremony on JBA, Md., July 10, 2018. Purath took command from Col. E. John Teichert and is now responsible for service members and support operations across the National Capital Region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Michael S. Murphy)

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Maj. Gen. James A. Jacobson, left, commander of the Air Force District of Washington and the 320th Air Expeditionary Wing, receives the 11th Wing guidon from Col. E. John Teichert in a change of command ceremony on Joint Base Andrews on JBA, Md., July 10, 2018. Teichert will soon assume command at the 412th Test Wing on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Michael S. Murphy)

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Col. Andrew M. Purath, new commander of the 11th Wing and Joint Base Andrews, bows his head in prayer during a change of command ceremony on JBA, Md., July 10, 2018. The ceremony saw Col. E. John Teichert pass command to Purath. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Michael S. Murphy)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --

The three senior officers began to march in formation down a red velvet carpet leading to the elevated stage, passing through a tunnel of U.S. Air Force honor guardsmen, who stood as still as statues as they marched to the elevated stage.

Col. Andrew M. Purath, the new 11th Wing and JBA commander, stood at the lectern and addressed the crowd, looking back at Air force District of Washington Maj. Gen. James A. Jacobson, as he spoke at the change of command ceremony here July 10, 2018.

“Major General Jacobson, I remember exactly where I was when I found out I was coming to the 11th Wing and to Joint Base Andrews,” Purath said. “I can say with great sincerity that I did not even realize this responsibility was even a possibility. Thank you for welcoming us, thank you for the opportunity and, Mrs. Jacobson, thank you for welcoming us into the AFDW family.”

Purath took command of the 11th Wing and JBA from Col. E. John Teichert. Jacobson presided over the ceremony and transferred the 11th Wing guidon from Teichert to Purath.

“It’s a pretty tough process in the United States Air Force to become a wing commander,” Jacobson said. “Those of you wearing command pins will agree -- there is no more fulfilling role in our United States Air Force than to command Airmen. I can tell you, with the 11th Wing and its complexity, its span and scope of responsibility and the demands that the Air Force has, we demand nothing but the best of the leaders sitting in front of you today.”

As the base’s host wing, the 11th Wing provides security, personnel, contracting, finance, medical and infrastructure support for five wings, three headquarters, and over 80 tenant organizations, as well as 60,000 Airmen and families in the National Capital Region. Additionally, the 11th Wing supports contingency operations in our nation’s capital with immediate-response rotary assets.

“The Airmen of the 11th Wing have a stellar reputation across the Air Force,” Purath said. “I saw it firsthand last year when this wing provided trained and ready Airmen to take the fight to [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] while I was at Ali Al Salem. I watched from afar as this wing supported an inauguration, repatriations, community outreach, aeromedical evacuations and on and on. The Airmen of the 11th Wing strike me as humble servants, ready to do whatever is necessary to ensure mission success.”

Before arriving at JBA, Purath was the vice commander of the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia. He led 4,000 Airmen and coalition partners who provided air mobility, precision strikes, personnel recovery, cyberattacks, logistics operations, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets in support of operations throughout the region.

Teichert will soon promote to brigadier general and take command of the 412th Test Wing on Edwards Air Force Base, California. In his speech he spoke about the lasting impact from his two years at JBA.

“Frankly, every single day since I took command two years ago, I have been amazed and humbled by you,” Teichert said. “You are all world class and absolutely amazing. Regardless if you wear the Air Force or the Navy uniform, or you are civilian, regardless of your unit or your rank or service, you are prime examples of what it means to be America’s Airmen.”