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AFMOA welcomes new commander

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jerilyn Quintanilla
  • 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs
Col. Lee E. Payne assumed command of the Air Force Medical Operations Agency from Brig. Gen. Sean L. Murphy during a ceremony at nearby Port San Antonio Aug. 29.

Lt. Gen. Thomas W. Travis, Air Force Surgeon General, presided over the ceremony.

Payne takes charge of the agency responsible for executing Air Force Surgeon General policies, which support expeditionary capabilities, health care operations and national security strategies across 75 military treatment facilities worldwide. AFMOA's reach affects 40,000 medical Airmen in support of approximately 2.6 million beneficiaries.

"This is so important to the Air Force," said Travis. "What happens here in AFMOA affects Air Force medicine worldwide."

Travis spoke of the vital role Murphy played in establishing the AFMOA six years ago, hailing him as the architect of the organization strategy. He also noted how instrumental the AFMOA has been to health care operations and to the overall readiness mission.

"There are a number of things that [Murphy] has been involved with that have made a deep imprint and a lasting impact on Air Force Medicine," Travis said.

After reflecting on both the outgoing and incoming commanders' careers, Travis highlighted parallels between the two and expressed confidence in Payne's ability to lead AFMOA.

"We've chosen very well the next AFMOA commander to follow General Murphy, and that's Col. Lee Payne," he said.

Prior to being chosen to lead the AFMOA, Payne served as the Deputy Assistant Surgeon General for Health Care Operations where he was responsible for executing health care policy.

Payne, who was promoted to brigadier general later that afternoon, expressed his gratitude for taking command and spoke directly to the men and women of the AFMOA.

"I'm honored to be the next AFMOA commander," Payne said. "To team AFMOA, I know these are difficult times and challenging times but from experience, I can tell you that every time faces a unique obstacle. It's just when we're going through it, it seems like the most difficult and the most challenging. I really look forward working with you as we tackle those obstacles."