The 311th Training Squadron, part of the 517th Training Group, held a change of command ceremony July 20, welcoming Lt. Col. Noah Tam to the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center and bidding farewell to outgoing commander Lt. Col. William Taylor.
The ceremony was hosted by the Commander of the 517th Training Group, Col. Mark Jones, who is also the DLIFLC assistant commandant.
During his time at DLIFLC, Taylor led more than 70 linguist instructors and military training leaders to develop language proficiency for nearly 1,300 linguists learning four languages. For his service from June 2021 to July 2023, Taylor received the Meritorious Service Medal. Among other achievements, Taylor oversaw the implementation of a new language program called Linguist Next, with a budget of $4.7M.
“This was the most rewarding assignment I ever had” said Taylor, as he told a story about how he learned of the news he had been selected to lead the 311th Training Squadron. “Late one night in Germany, my boss kept calling me and I just ignored his calls, thinking, ‘what did I do now’?”
Though initially surprised, Taylor was elated to be headed to Monterey, California, right as the nation was coming out of the pandemic.
“What you do in the future will save lives,” Taylor said to the Airmen on Soldier Field overlooking Monterey Bay. “Be kind to them, listen to them and make a conscious endeavor to make life better,” Taylor advised his successor in his parting remarks.
Welcoming the new commander of the 311th Training Squadron, Jones said, “Noah has crushed every job he has held to date. Thirteen jobs, and he was a top performer in each!”
Following the passing of the guidon, Tam thanked the organizers of the event and especially called out an Airman who had translated the change of command program into Chinese so that his parents could read and follow the ceremony. As a first generation Chinese American, Tam said this gesture meant a lot to him and his parents.
“It is my privilege to work for all of you,” as he looked back on the field full of Airmen, “I am just getting started,” he said with a broad smile.