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CP Grad Commanding USAF Training Base

Deborah Marquart Liddick, class of 1984, takes reins at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland

In the wake of ongoing sexual assault allegations and charges against several Air Force basic military training (BMT) instructors, as cited in the Air Force Print News Today last month, Air Education and Training Command (AETC) Commander Gen. Edward Rice, Jr. recently entrusted the future of Texas’ Joint Base San Antonio-Lockland to 1984 Carle Place High School grad Col. Deborah Marquart Liddick.

As the new senior leader for roughly 6,000 students, Liddick, a 23-year veteran, is now the BMT commander for the Air Force’s largest training group, according to the Air Force Print News Today.

“I’m absolutely honored to take command. I was a commander previously, so it’s an absolute honor. Not everybody gets to command,” said Liddick, who, prior her recent appointment, led the largest fighter maintenance group in the Air Force at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona since 2010.

At Carle Place High School, Liddick was a member of the French Honor Society, the orchestra and captain of the varsity field hockey and lacrosse teams. She enrolled in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at Wilkes College in Pennsylvania, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the USAF upon graduating in 1989.

Her deployment experience includes operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, NATO Operation Deny Flight, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

“Certainly I’ve always wanted to travel and I’ve had a great opportunity being stationed in various places,” said Liddick, whose service positions ranged from munitions officer to squadron maintenance officer to expeditionary maintenance squadron commander during her deployments.

Liddick has earned the USAF Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez Munitions Maintenance CGO of the Year and USAF Fuels Officer of the Year awards in addition to more than a dozen commendations and decorations. She was promoted to the rank of Colonel on Sept. 1, 2009.

Liddick is the daughter of Frank Marquart, of Westbury, and Charlie Conboy, of Portland, Ore. She is the sister to Brian and Tim Marquart, of Westbury, and Frankie Marquart, of Hollywood, MD. Her husband, Terry, is a wildlife biologist pilot with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Laurel, MD. The couple found themselves in a unique situation recently as Deborah’s Yankees took on Terry’s Orioles during Major League Baseball’s American League Division Series. 

While the commander now acclimates herself to the humid Texas air, Liddick expects to move past the sexual assault scandal and promote the Air Force’s core values – integrity, service and excellence – in every possible application. 

“We’re getting it behind us. We’re working on compliance and high standards and making sure that none of those crimes are committed again. We’re working to become a better organization.

“Some of the folks are still going through the court process but for the most part, we’ve got a lot of good folks here and we’re working on a lot of new measures to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Liddick said, referring to the ongoing sexual assault investigation regarding nearly two-dozen instructors and approximately four-dozen female victims.

While the Air Force Print News Today cited that Liddick is the fourth female officer to lead basic training and first since 2006, the Westbury native is focused less on gender and more on goals now that she’s leading the way.

“To make this a really proud organization and well-respected with the American public and within the military are our goals for the next few months,” Liddick explained.