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NEWS | June 29, 2018

New commander takes MAG-49 helm

By Staff Sgt. Lauren Russell Joint Base MDL Public Affairs

U.S. Marine Corps Col. Robert J. Braatz relinquished command of the Marine Aircraft Group 49 to Marine Col. Alison J. Thompson during a change of command ceremony here June 22.  


Marine Lt. Gen. Rex C. McMillian, Marine Forces Reserve commander, presided over the ceremony and took the opportunity to welcome Thompson and highlight the accomplishments of the MAG-49 Marines under Braatz.  


“You should never look at yourself in the mirror and wonder if you did enough,” said McMillian. “You have all answered the call.”


The ceremony took place just after the 2018 MAG-49 Combined Arms Exercise, a total force training event that incorporated active duty and Reserve Marines from across the region that focused on training ground and air forces together.


“As a force provider, I can’t look into a crystal ball and see when we will be called,” said McMillian. “We have to be prepared to go outside the wire at a moment’s notice and this [MCAX] has proven we have that capability.”


Addressing those in attendance, Braatz spoke on the unique training opportunities afforded to the MAG, and the dedication shown by his Marines.


“I can’t tell you how proud I am of all the Marines here,” said Braatz, who retired during the event after 26 years of service. “Keep up the good work.”


Now in command of the group, Thompson says she is anticipating leading the team of total force Marines, from the most basic operations to high-level missions and to being the most ready when the nation is least ready.


“I am so grateful for this opportunity to not only command this MAG, but to serve this MAG,” said Thompson. “Together, we will uphold the principles of the Constitution that we have all sworn to protect, and the espirit de corps that makes us uniquely Marines.”