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Joint Base San Antonio Says Goodbye To Commander Laura Lenderman

Johnny Saldivar / 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Air Force Brig. Gen. Laura Lenderman gave remarks after assuming command of JBSA and the 502d ABW on June 6, 2018 at Fort Sam Houston.

Joint Base San Antonio bid farewell to its commander Laura Lenderman in a ceremony this Friday morning at Fort Sam Houston. She passed the baton after a challenging tenure — marked by border unrest, housing issues and COVID-19.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Laura Lenderman took charge of Joint Base San Antonio and the 502d Air Base Wing in June 2018. Her command is responsible for things like grounds and building maintenance — and making sure the base gets needed supplies.  

It’s a big job. JBSA represents 10 major commands, numerous flight training, medical and cyber missions, and about half a million people.

“JBSA is, frankly, a handful,” said Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, head of Air Education and Training Command. “The complexity is like no other installation.”

In recent months, the base became the nerve center for the region’s COVID-19 response — with Lenderman its public face.

Before that, Lenderman provided support to Hurricane Michael evacuees and thousands of soldiers working along the southern border. She also guided JBSA’s response to the military family housing crisis and rampant mold in trainee dorms.

Webb congratulated Lenderman for her kind leadership and composure.

“Laura, this has been a simply spectacular tour. We all congratulate you for your leadership. That was a job very well done.”

In her final address, Lenderman thanked her colleagues and friends for their support through it all.

“We worked together. We laughed together,” she said. “We may have felt like crying together once or twice… and we solved some really tough problems together. And through it all, we proved that we truly are stronger together.”

Lenderman will now join Air Education and Training Command. She’s succeeded by 26-year veteran Brig. Gen. Caroline Miller, who previously served as the Air Force’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services at the Pentagon.

After assuming command, Miller thanked Lenderman for leaving JBSA and the 502d Air Base Wing in what she called a “phenomenal state.”

“I've observed you over the past two years, leading this team through an unprecedented number of emotionally charged extremely highly visible crises, which received attention at the highest levels of the Department of Defense and Congress,” Miller said. “Your calm but firm approach to leading your team through these events is remarkable--one that should be emulated by all leaders.”

Carson Frame can be reached at Carson@TPR.org and on Twitter at @carson_frame.

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Carson Frame was Texas Public Radio's military and veterans' issues reporter from July 2017 until March 2024.