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Col. Thompson's farewell
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Col. Charles F. Thompson, 66th Air Base Wing commander, listens to Jim Taggart, Logistics Readiness Squadron director, explain information before signing documents during a recent meeting. Colonel Thompson hands off installation commander duties on June 30. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Wyatt)
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Air base wing commander closes one chapter, begins another

Posted 6/24/2010   Updated 6/24/2010 Email story   Print story

    


by Sarah Olaciregui
66th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


6/24/2010 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- As Col. Charles F. Thompson, 66th Air Base Wing commander, departs the base after serving here for nearly three years in different capacities, he leaves as one chapter is closing and another is just beginning.

The colonel's new assignment at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, will be as the deputy commander of the 611th Air Operations Center, where he will be responsible for air sovereignty of the Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command region and provide support to joint operations of the Pacific Air Forces.

At the same time, Hanscom Air Force Base braces for change as the air base wing inactivates and the 66th Air Base Group stands up. Additionally, the Electronic Systems Center's (ESC) wings become directorates under program executive officers.

Colonel Thompson has been busy making sure the reorganization is a success. He believes Team Hanscom is poised to stay focused on delivering systems to the Warfighter and he hopes the transition will be without too many hurdles or obstacles. Being part of and getting the wing ready for the reorganization is something he is most proud of during his time as commander.

"I'm only going to get to see chapter one. Chapter two will begin in July when I am off to my next assignment," he said.

Colonel Thompson, however, is used to change. When family medical issues moved him and his family to Hanscom Air Force Base in 2007, he only knew of acquisitions from a requirements point of view.

"It gave me a greater appreciation for the hard work it takes in acquisitions and the challenges they face," he said. "I was able to use my operator background to help out with command and control programs acquisition."

He learned quickly and was part of two new programs during his time as Chief, Global Command and Control Systems Air Force (GCCS-AF) Family of Systems Division, which is part of the 350th Electronic Systems Group. They were Command and Control Information Services (C2IS) and Command and Control Air Operations Suite (C2AOS).

"In my acquisition life, I was at the birth of two programs that will bring a lot of capability for air operations centers in the future," he said of the two projects he was most proud of working on while at ESC. "I was there at the creation of command and control information systems and command and control air operations suite: two small programs trying to incorporate things we take advantage of on the web today and bringing them into combat systems."

When he moved into the vice commander position at the 66th Air Base Wing in July 2009, he realized that role would be completely different, as well. He had to shift from acquisitions to support.

"Serving the base, making sure everything is good to go so that people can focus on their jobs became the priority," he said of his focus as vice commander and commander.

His diverse roles at Hanscom have provided him with a broad lens through which he is able to see the Hanscom community's accomplishments from varied perspectives.

"It's not too often that you get a chance to come out of your world or comfort zone and go into something totally different and totally new," he said. "It's always been a desire of mine to make things better. I've been blessed by having a lot of great opportunities and a wide and varied background with my assignments and jobs so it's been tremendously rewarding," he said.

Colonel Thompson hands off installation commander duties to Col. Stacy Yike on June 30 and departs for Alaska soon thereafter.

He will always remember the support Team Hanscom showed him and his family throughout his time here. He will also take away a greater understanding of the entire Air Force mission.

"Now that I'm going back to operations, I look forward to using the systems that come out of ESC, with a greater appreciation of what it takes to deliver."



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