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7th Bomb Wing welcomes new commander

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The 7th Bomb Wing welcomed a new commander following a change of command ceremony July 28 at the 3-Bay Hangar.

Colonel Timothy Ray replaced Col. Garrett Harencak, who is moving on as Air Combat Command's deputy director of requirements at Langley Air Force Base, Va.

Colonel Ray and his wife Rhonda are making this their first stop to Team Dyess after he served as the vice commander of the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot AFB, N.D.

The colonel earned a Bachelor of Science in human factors engineering at the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1985, a Master of Science in aviation sciences management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1998, and a Master of Science in strategic studies from Air War College in 2004. He has earned the mark of distinguished graduate from both Squadron Officer School and Air Command Staff College.

Colonel Ray says he has heard of Team Dyess' relationship with the Abilene community long before he arrived.

"When we arrived, I saw immediately just how great the relationship is with the community," Colonel Ray said. "It was even better than I expected."

His focus for the 7th Bomb Wing will be to remain engaged in combat operations.
"We need to continue improving on the successes of our flying and maintenance of our aircraft. We need to work smarter, not harder," Colonel Ray said. "Along with that we need to continue improving upon our deployment preparations and the safety of our Team Dyess members here."

While the Air Force is getting smaller and there continues to be a steady stream of deployments, the Air Force is still in very good shape, he said.

"Historically, 30 years ago, while we were much larger, we were not nearly as effective as we are now," the colonel said. "I don't want us to lose focus on that. We are a very capable and potent force."

While at Dyess, he and his wife will make it a priority to take care of the Airmen, Colonel Ray said.

"We are very proud and honored to be a part of something special here," he said. "We will make every effort to make the Airmen feel they are well taken care of."
One of the biggest pluses coming here is the relation with a sister command and services, the commander said.

"We truly are blessed to have four sister services. It's an asset for our Airmen to get to see things done in a different way," Colonel Ray said. "Twenty years ago, we did things by ourselves, but now we operate in a joint environment. It's a way of life for us now."
With the Army Reserve and National Guard center being built here in the near future, Team Dyess will also have the opportunity to play a critical role in Total Force, Colonel Ray said.

Colonel Ray's arrival to Dyess comes just as the base is receiving many facility upgrades. These quality of life improvements are viewed as essential for the welfare of Team Dyess, he said.

"The groundwork for these projects was laid down by people long before me. I want to continue that work and prepare for the next round of improvements so that future Airmen can benefit," Colonel Ray said.

While at Dyess the colonel asks that Airman never lose sight of how proud they should be for what they are doing.

"The American Airman is world class. No one is as good as we are, and we need to remember that," Colonel Ray said.

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