New commander takes lead at Lajes Field


Story and photos by
Senior Airman Milton Hamilton
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Col. Beth Graboritz, 65th Air Base Group commander, receives a guidon from U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark R. August, 86th Airlift Wing commander, during a change of command ceremony at Lajes Field, Azores, Portugal, on Aug. 22. Graboritz accepted her new position in front of 65th ABG Airmen and host nation personnel.

LAJES FIELD, Portugal — Col. Beth Graboritz assumed command of the 65th Air Base Group from Col. Travis Leighton, at Lajes Field, Azores, Portugal, on Aug. 22.

Brig. Gen. Mark R. August, 86th Airlift Wing commander, presided over the ceremony.
“There’s a new commander ready to grab the guidon, to show Lajes can go in new directions and new avenues,” said August.
Graboritz received her commission upon graduation from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1995.
August said Graboritz brings a different perspective to the command, as well as new energy and was the most qualified person to do the job.
Prior to Graboritz’s current position she led the Directorate of Operations Cyber Division for United States Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.
After the change of command, Airmen from the 65th ABG, host nation civilians and Portuguese military members welcomed Graboritz during a meet and greet, where she was able to speak with and get to know her team.


U.S. Air Force Col. Beth Graboritz, 65th Air Base Group commander, greets Airmen and host nation personnel under her command during a meet and greet at Lajes Field, Azores, Portugal, on Aug. 22. During this event Grabortiz was able to speak to host nation personnel and Airmen.

“This is an amazing opportunity,” said Graboritz. “I’m excited and looking forward to working with the group.”
Lajes Field is known as the “Crossroads of the Atlantic,” providing a strategic advantage to the U.S. and it’s allied forces.
The 65th ABG provides base and en-route support for the U.S. Department of Defense and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.