42nd MDG welcomes new commander

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jackson Manske
  • Air University Public Affairs

Col. Zoya Lee-Zerkel took command of the 42nd Medical Group during a ceremony presided over by Col. Patrick Carley, the 42nd Air Base Wing commander, July 1, 2020 on Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

After serving two years as the 42nd MDG commander,  Col. Jeanette Frantel is moving on to her next assignment at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. 

Leading a group in our Air Force is a unique honor and privilege, and this group’s responsibility is as varied as it is vital said Carley. 

Carley described the accomplishments of both the incoming and outgoing commanders.

“Between them, they have 22 assignments, including 13 overseas assignments, they’ve earned three master’s degrees, 71 total awards and decorations, including 30 medals awarded.”

The pair had one more medal to claim after Carley presented the Medal of Merit to Frantal for her service to the group and the base. 

“I have learned so much by being on this team, every one of you has taught me something, whether it’s been to be a better listener, a better leader, or a more thoughtful speaker,” said Frantal. “I know you’ll go forth and continue to do amazing things.”

Frantal tearfully remarked that her son was in attendance at the ceremony, a fact that she said held significant value to her as he had not been able to attend a military ceremony in the last 15 years. 

Carley warned Lee-Zerkel of the challenges she would face as the commander of the 42nd MDG.

“You’re going to face issues and challenges and you’re going to have limited manpower and resources to deal with those, however as the great basketball coach John Wooden once said, ‘Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.’”

Lee-Zerkel arrived at Maxwell from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, where she previously served as the commander of the 86th Medical Group Expeditionary Medical Support. 

She voiced her hopefulness as the incoming commander of the 42nd MDG leading the group into the future.

“This is an amazing time to be in our Air Force, to be leading airmen charged with responding to an international pandemic and simultaneously dealing with a national political crisis, but oh, what an opportunity for us all. What an opportunity for us to move things forward and to shape the battle space with innovation and ingenuity… let’s keep our minds open, let’s take things one day at a time, and let’s get to work”