• Baylor alum leads U.S. Air Force’s largest combat wing

    Brig. Gen. Joel Cary

    In the U.S. Air Force, there’s no larger combat wing than the 18th Wing — and the leader of the Air Force’s “Keystone of the Pacific” is a Baylor Bear.

    Brigadier General Joel Carey (BA ’92) was named commander of the 18th Wing in 2019 after distinguishing himself over nearly three decades of Air Force service. Located within the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, the 18th Wing provides tactical air forces, combat search and rescue, aeromedical evacuation capabilities and more throughout the Pacific region.

    Carey’s Air Force service has taken him around the world. He served at Kadena in the early 2000s, then Germany, and more recently led NATO’s Train Advise and Assist command in Afghanistan. Stateside, he has served in a variety of bases and roles across the nation and deployed to numerous combat operations worldwide.

    Before he began his service to the nation, he fostered those interests at Baylor. A former Baylor quarterback, he majored in economics and prepared for the military as a member of Baylor’s Air Force ROTC. Prior to assuming the role of 18th Wing commander, he had a fun and fitting assignment as a part of his duties — overseeing the group that flew over McLane Stadium after the National Anthem at football games. (Several of his pilots there were Baylor grads, as well.) Carey comes from a long line of Bears, and two of his sons have followed in his footsteps at Baylor: Cole, a senior human resources management and marketing major, and Jack, a sophomore biochemistry major.

    “I’ve got a fantastic family that Baylor’s been a part of our history for awhile. We believe in this institution and believe in the values it stands for,” Carey said before a Baylor football game in 2017. “We’ve been moving all over the world, my family and I, and we come back when we can and are thrilled to be a part of it.”

    Sic ’em, Brigadier General Joel Carey!