Cantwell takes command of Holm Center

  • Published
  • By By Phil Berube, Air University Public Affairs

Brig. Gen. Houston Cantwell took command of the Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development from Brig. Gen. Leslie Maher during a change of command ceremony, July 28, 2022.

Cantwell comes to Maxwell from Italy, where he served as the commander of the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Force at Sigonella Air Base.

After having been responsible for providing NATO with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities for the past two years, Cantwell is now responsible for commissioning nearly 85% of the Department of the Air Force’s line officers through Officer Training School and the ROTC program and the citizen development of more than 100,000 high school students in Junior ROTC programs globally.

 He was commissioned in 1994 through ROTC at the University of Virginia.

“My family and I are excited to return to the Maxwell community,” said Cantwell, who attended Air Command and Staff College then School of Advanced Air and Space Studies from 2005 to 2007. “Building future Air and Space Force leaders is a tough but rewarding mission. I look forward to meeting the talented Airmen, Guardians and civilians charged with the essential task of officer accessions and citizen development.”

Air University Commander and President Lt. Gen. Andrea Tullos officiated the ceremony.

“Leslie, for all your team’s accomplishments, it’s your leadership and dedication that I want everyone to remember,” said Tullos after citing the numerous challenges the Holm Center faced fighting through the COVID pandemic during Maher’s tenure as commander. “You poured your heart into your command, and it shines through not only at the Holm Center, but across our command and our Air Force.”

Maher is retiring more than 30 years of service.

Cantwell is a command pilot with more than 2,100 flying hours, including more than 400 combat hours, primarily in the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the MQ-9 Reaper.

“We chose Houston to lead the Holm Center because he’s fresh off the experience of leading combined NATO forces in Europe, where their leaders are reminded that we are stronger together,” said Tullos. “He has a diverse set of experiences as an aviator and as a SAASS graduate. He’s a versatile leader who has shown he is not uncomfortable being a pathfinder as one of our earliest squadron and group commanders in remotely piloted aircraft. … He’s the right officer at the right time to take the mantle and continue to push the Holm Center through the challenges that we see on the horizon.”

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