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NEWS | June 20, 2023

JB MDL Change of Command 2023

By Staff Sgt. Sabatino DiMascio 87th ABW Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Col. Wes Adams relinquished command of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and the 87th Air Base Wing to U.S. Air Force Col. Anthony L. Smith, during a change of command ceremony on Joint Base MDL, New Jersey, June 20, 2023.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. John M. Klein, U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center commander, was the presiding officer of the ceremony.

“Today I have the honor and privilege of transferring the mantle of command from one exceptional leader to another” he said. “Both of these leaders have demonstrated an extraordinary ability to lead and inspire. They have shown commitment to building a culture and environment of dignity and respect where our airmen and families thrive.”

Before Adams relinquished command, he was awarded the Legion of Merit for his superior leadership, exemplary foresight, and personal dedication throughout the past two years. Now looking back during his tenure here as the Installation Commander, Adams now has several accomplishments and Joint Base MDL historical events to be proud of.

“Operation Allies Welcome and Task Force-Liberty feel like our Opus.” He spoke. “However, the most enduring achievement might be how we built the base as a joint weapon system and made it more joint than joined.”

Maj. Gen. Klein emphasized the meaning of joint in saying, “[JB MDL] is not just joined. Not just coexisting, but truly integrated. A testament to a mindset and belief forged in action.”

Aside from above mentioned historical events, Adams said that this command experience “was everything I expected and more, in every respect.  It was more difficult, more surprising, more engaging, more fun than I ever expected.  While it may sound cliché, it was easily the most demanding and simultaneously rewarding experience of my career.  We faced just about everything you could imagine and emerged so much stronger as a team and so much more capable as a force.  Officially, it was nothing short of remarkable. Unofficially, I’m really tired.”

Following the passing of the guidon, Adams rendered one final salute as the joint base commander and began his next chapter, as Smith now holds the reins for Joint Base MDL.

Taking to the microphone, Smith pledged “I am committed to serve with honor, selflessness, to be a joint base brand ambassador, and make this team even stronger.”

Smith then addressed the Joint Base MDL community by emphasizing, "As I look back throughout my career, success has always been delivered through teamwork, and I can’t imagine a better place to be than right here."

He ended by expressing his gratitude to his family for their dedication and for the warm welcome he’s received from base members.

Smith’s previous assignment was as the Director, Financial Management and Comptroller, Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Scott AFB, Ill. Col Smith entered the Air Force after receiving his commission through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at Fayetteville State University, North Carolina in May 1997. He has served in a variety of positions at the wing, center, major command, Air Force and defense agency levels including commanding at the squadron and group levels.

As the commander of Joint Base MDL and the 87 ABW, Smith will provide installation support to more than 88 mission partners of the Department of Defense’s only tri-service joint base. He will also be responsible for providing expeditionary mission-ready support to combatant commanders of joint and coalition operations.