17th Training Wing Commander, Col. Nazario, reflects on time spent at Goodfellow Air Force Base

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SAN ANGELO, Texas – In less than one week, Colonel Andres Nazario will head to his new assignment and post: The Pentagon.

Col. Nazario began his term as Wing Commander for the 17th Training Wing at Goodfellow Air Force base in the summer of 2019. However, he was no stranger to GAFB.

“I came here as a student many years ago. Then six years after that I showed up as an instructor from 2003 to 2006,” Nazario said.

Goodfellow Air Force Base’s website details the operations Col. Nazario oversaw during his time as Wing Commander:

A Joint Center of Excellence, Goodfellow is the home for the Department of Defense Fire Academy and multi-service intelligence technical training. The wing is responsible for training more than 14,000 firefighting and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance warriors annually for the United States Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, other government agencies and allied nations. In addition to Goodfellow, Colonel Nazario has command responsibility for three geographically-separated units in California, Arizona and Florida. He manages real property, equipment, supplies and contracts in excess of $1.5 billion and has an annual operating budget exceeding $288 million.

Nazario is a man of vision. On a tour of the base, he revealed many up-and-coming ventures as well as completed projects he takes pride in: a splash pad for children of military personnel, updates to facilities that promote health and wellness, more housing, and better broadband connection to name a few.

“It’s about the next 15 years…it was never about just two years,” Nazario said.

Two years is about the average time frame military personnel stay in one place. With that constant movement, comes excitement and the ability to create and recreate. However, it also brings some sadness. When asked about getting “attached and invested” (which makes letting go even more difficult) Nazario said, do it anyway because that’s how a person can make a difference.

“The longer you’re in the military, the more difficult the goodbyes get,” Nazario said.

This idea of making a difference spurred the conversation toward leadership. Nazario believes that most leaders share several commonalities, one of which is feeling a call to fill a need through some type of service.

“It is this constant drive to want to serve others,” Nazario said.

Nazario felt that call at age 17 when he enlisted in the Army. He reflected on that decision and his upbringing in Puerto Rico, comparing those times to his current station and what’s to come.

“To have gotten the opportunity to command, lead, serve Goodfellow Air Force Base but also the San Angelo Community, I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world so I consider this a blessing of a lifetime,” Nazario said.

His advice to others hoping to one day be leaders is simple, work hard and act as if each day is the last time you will get to do what you’re called to do.

The following list of Col. Nazario’s awards, along with more information, can be found on Goodfellow Air Force Base’s website:

Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star
Defense Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal
Army Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal
Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters

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