PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- The Air Force's 314th Training Squadron welcomed a new leader during a ceremony held here July 16.

Col. Ginger Wallace, Commander, 517th Training Group and Assistant Commandant of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, officiated as Lt. Col. Mark Mitchem, outgoing commander of the squadron relinquished command to Lt. Col. Allison Galford, during a ceremony held at the Presidio's Soldier Field.

More than 300 airmen from the squadron were in attendance to witness the event and greet their new commander.

"It's an honor to preside over a ceremony to honor and recognize a very successful outgoing commander and to welcome a very capable new commander." Wallace said. "Changes of command are exceptionally bittersweet because it's time to say goodbye to one commander who has successfully completed what many consider the best, but toughest jobs in the Air Force."

"The 314th Training Squadron -- one of the largest in the Air Force -- grew and excelled under Lt. Col Mitchem's leadership," said Wallace.

"During his tenure the squadron produced more than 950 graduates, received more than 70 DLIFLC awards and more than 300 airmen received Associate of Arts degrees."

"Additionally, the squadron received an 'Excellent' rating in the 2013 Air Education and Training Command compliance inspection," said Wallace, pausing to add with special emphasis "which is not an easy task to accomplish."

"During his two years as commander of the 314th Lt. Col. Mitchem's leadership contributed to the Defense Language Institute's highest proficiency rate in the past 30 years."

"We'll miss you, but know that the squadron is in good hands." Wallace said prior to turning over the microphone to Lt. Col. Mitchem,

During his remarks Mitchem thanked many individuals and welcomed Galford and her husband to the 314th Training Squadron family. "You are joining a world class group of people and I wish you both great success, in all you do." said Mitchem.

Turning to the 300 men and women of the squadron standing in formation before him on the field Mitchem spoke fondly of his two years as their squadron commander and expressed his gratitude for their unwavering support.

"My departing wish for you, as it has been over the last two years, is that you continue to seek opportunity, be credible and be resilient as you go forward." said Mitchem to the assembled airmen.

"You are indeed a spectacular group of people and I am immensely, immensely proud of you."

Following Mitchem's remarks Wallace called Galford to the center of the viewing stand to officially accept the colors and command of the squadron.

"To the men and women of the 314th Training Squadron: I am truly excited to lead this squadron and look forward to meeting and working with all of you," said Galford in her first remarks as squadron commander. "I am honored to serve with each and every one of you."

Following the speeches the 314th Training Squadron Drill Team took the field for a synchronized presentation of arms to the outgoing and incoming commanders.

The ceremony was concluded with the singing of the Air Force Song by the AF DLI Choir.

Following the ceremony Galford crossed the field and joined the assembled airmen of the 314th for a group photo and mark the occasion, symbolically taking her place at the head of the squadron.

The 314th Training Squadron was established at the Presidio of Monterey in 2008, although it traces its lineage back to 1986 as the 348th School Squadron located at Fort Devens, Ma. It was officially designated as the 314th Training Squadron at Fort Huachuca, Az., in 1994 before relocating to the Presidio of Monterey. The mission of the 314th Training Squadron is to inspire, develop and train airmen as professional linguists with analytical and cultural expertise.

The mission of the 517th Training Group is to train Airmen as linguists, develop airmen skills, and instill Air Force Values. Airmen of the 311th and 314th Training Squadrons are responsible for training more than 2,000 Air Force enlisted students annually in basic and advanced foreign language skills as well as in the values and military skills necessary to excel as Airmen and linguists.

To learn more about the people and facilities of the Presidio of Monterey visit the official garrison website at

Page last updated Thu July 17th, 2014 at 17:47