JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The 502nd Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio welcomed Brig. Gen Russell D. Driggers as the new commander May 3, as Brig. Gen. Caroline Miller departed for a new assignment as the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel, and services at the Pentagon.
The incoming commander for the Department of Defense’s largest joint base is ready to guide the “Beast Wing” into the future, post-COVID-19.
Driggers focused on three themes during his remarks upon receiving command: appreciation, partnerships, and purpose.
Family, friends, and God were among those he expressed appreciation for, and he looks forward to growing the partnerships essential to JBSA’s success.
“I am thrilled to have the chance to deepen our solid partnerships so we can get after those tough challenges we will face tomorrow,” he said. “Nobody, I mean nobody, can challenge the depth, the breadth, and the energy and the support this community provides the military.”
The new commander also recognized Miller for her accomplishments.
“I want to thank Gen. Miller for the amazing work she has done for this Beast,” he said. “I will do my best to take this Beast onward and upward. Untamed and unrivaled.”
Driggers comes to JBSA from his assignment as the director of Air, Space and Cyberspace Operations at Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, where he was responsible for shaping the workforce and cyber infrastructure to test, field and sustain agile war-winning capabilities.
Commissioned in May 1995, Driggers was a distinguished graduate at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He holds master’s degrees from Texas A&M University, the U.S. Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies, and the National War College.
Driggers, the seventh commander of JBSA, is also a command pilot with more than 2,300 hours in the F-15C/D and T-38A/C.
Miller, who led the wing throughout the pandemic, historic snow storms, and the recent airshow which hosted over half a million visitors, thanked those who supported her during the last two years.
“I’m going to truly miss the Beast that is JBSA, but I know that all the hard work and effort the team has put in over the years is being passed to undeniably capable hands,” she said.
Miller, who has been nominated for promotion to lieutenant general, looks forward to her future at the Pentagon, but will miss the Beast Wing.
“We have been through a great deal during this tour,” she said. “What we accomplished to ensure zero mission degradation was astounding. We didn’t just survive the pandemic, we thrived.”
Like Driggers, she also recognized the outstanding community partnerships at JBSA.
“Military City USA has cracked the code on Public-Public, Public-Private partnerships,” she said. “I have never been at an installation with so much community support.”
In closing, Miller thanked all JBSA team members for their hard work during her tenure.
“To the men and women of the 502nd, it has been an honor to be your commander,” she said. “It has been an honor and privilege to serve with all of you.
“We now have an identity. We are the Beast,” she said. “We are untamed and unrivaled, and we are the best joint base in the Department of Defense.”
The Air Force is the lead agency for JBSA, which is comprised of three primary locations, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, JBSA-Lackland, and JBSA-Randolph, plus eight other operating locations and more than 260 mission partners.
The Department of Defense’s largest joint base, JBSA services more DOD students than any other installation, more active runways than any other installation, houses the DOD’s largest hospital and only level one trauma center, supports more than 250,000 personnel, including 425 retired general officers, and interfaces with 1,000 civic leaders, 20 smaller communities, four counties and four Congressional Districts.