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37 TRG commander reflects on tenure as tech training leader

Col. Gregory Reese, former 37th Training Group commander. (Official Air Force photo)

Col. Gregory Reese, former 37th Training Group commander. (Official Air Force photo)

8/3/2012 -- JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Not long after Col. Gregory Reese assumed command of the 37th Training Group at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in July 2010, he called the commander's position "the best job I could ever dream of."

The last two years have served to solidify this belief.

"It's still a true statement," Reese said before heading to his new assignment at Air Force Space Command Headquarters, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., as director of Security Forces. "I'm excited about the new challenge and a little sad to leave the 37th Training Group."

Reese turned over the 37th TRG leadership reins to Col. Jeanne Hardrath in a change of command ceremony Thursday at the Basic Military Training parade grounds.

Prior to his group commander's role, Reese spent 20 years in a variety of Security Forces leadership positions.

"After I left Fort Dix, N.J., as an instructor in 1997, I always kind of missed the instructor piece," Reese said. "While I'm looking forward to (my new job) at Air Force Space Command, I think I'll always miss the impact and the energy of the 37th Training Group.

"It's been a wonderful job," he added. "All you have to do is go to any base; there's a graduate of the 37th Training Group out there somewhere. Everything these technical training students are going to become is because of the military training leaders and academic instructors in this group."

Reese said managing time was important when leading a group as large as the 37th TRG. It supports approximately 1,600 personnel at 180 facilities from all four military branches, and also provides professional and technical training to more than 39,000 military members and civilians in the armed forces, international community and other federal agencies.

"There are a lot of moving parts in the 37th Training Group," he said. "It just seems there aren't enough hours in the day to do it justice."

The colonel said one of the highlights from his tenure at JBSA-Lackland came during last April's Compliance Inspection, the group's second major inspection in two years.

"Instructors are responsible for the subjects they teach and we had some squadrons with 100 percent subject matter qualification testing results by instructors," Reese said. "That's phenomenal. The instructors take such pride in every one of the 238 courses taught in the 37th Training Group.

"You can't force that kind of performance. It has to come from within," he added. "We've got instructors who take an extreme amount of pride in the work they do for the Air Force."

Reese also cited the group's MTLs and academic instructors for their emphasis to technical training students on character development and making responsible choices.

A recently completed University of Tennessee study showed a significant drop in alcohol-related incidents during the past two years by students attending 37th TRG technical training courses.
"We've had a reduction in the number of alcohol-related incidents by 52 percent in the past two years," said Reese. "I attribute that drop to the hard work of the MTLs and academic instructors.

"It goes back to, one would hope, that the students are making more responsible decisions because of their character - not out of fear, but out of character. That (reduction) is something we're extremely proud of."

Reese said he hopes financial outlays made by the group will pay off for the foreseeable future.

"We've made phenomenal investments in infrastructure, like the Department of Defense military working dog center and realism in training," he said. "Those investments came just at the right time, before the budget started to shrink.

"Hopefully, they will help sustain the realism and relevancy of training in the decades to come as we start going through some leaner (fiscal) times," he added.