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NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain — A former mission support group commander at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., is Lajes Field’s top officer.

Col. Barbara Jacobi replaced Col. Judith Fedder on Wednesday as commander of the base’s 65th Air Base Wing during a ceremony in the Portuguese Azores. She promised servicemembers she would provide “the kind of leadership necessary to continue to excel” and to continue building an “already strong relationship” with the wing’s Portuguese hosts.

“The only challenge I have for you is to continue on with the same enthusiastic can-do spirit, dedication and devotion to duty that Col. Fedder proudly refers to as the trademarks of this base,” she said in her speech.

Before taking charge at Lajes, Jacobi served as the 6th Mission Support Group commander at MacDill, where she supported the U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S. Central Command and 49 other tenant units.

Her command helped maintain 658 facilities and support a base population of 5,000 military, 17,000 family members and more than 200,000 military retirees.

She leaves the Tampa command to take over a much smaller military community in the Azores. Lajes has about 1,000 U.S. active-duty military personnel stationed at the Portuguese installation. The group’s main mission is to support cargo and transport planes crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

Fedder, who arrived in the Azores in August 2001, leaves her post to become executive officer for the chief of staff of the Air Force, Gen. John P. Jumper.

Fedder was the first woman and first non-aviator to take command at Lajes.

Last year, with Fedder in charge, the Defense Department selected Lajes as the best base in the Air Force.

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