HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Col. Katrina Stephens accepted command of the 66th Air Base Group during a change of command ceremony at the Minuteman Commons here, and broadcast via Facebook Live, June 24.
After taking command, Stephens accepted the challenge of continuing to propel Team Hanscom forward.
“I am humbled and excited to begin this next chapter with you,” she said. “To our [program executive officers] and mission partners, I look forward to building on your support to face the challenges that lie ahead.”
Stephens, who was stationed at Hanscom early in her Air Force career, said her number one priority is protecting the more than 10,000 personnel and residents who live and work on the installation.
“Our approach will be deliberate and our path will be decisive,” she said. “Communication is absolutely imperative.”
She also touched on diversity, saying: “Our strengths lie in our differences, and only by empowering people to do their jobs and respecting what makes us unique can we be fully awesome.”
Lt. Gen. Robert McMurry, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center commander, participating virtually from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, presided over the ceremony in which Col. Chad Ellsworth relinquished command.
In a video message played during the ceremony, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker thanked Ellsworth for his service and initiatives at Hanscom AFB before welcoming Stephens to the community.
“[Hanscom AFB] is truly one of the great assets, not just in Massachusetts but in the country, when it comes to military technology advancements and innovation,” said Baker. “Our relationship with Hanscom is a great example of a public private partnership, and great example of what ingenuity, research and innovation can do for our men and women in uniform, our commonwealth, and our country.”
McMurry lauded Ellsworth’s efforts throughout his two-year tenure, noting the installation’s COVID-19 response.
“You brought a level of transparency into the process that was necessary to gain the faith and confidence of our people,” said McMurry. “You gave your people a job to do and the power to do it, all with tremendous professionalism.”
In his final message as commander, Ellsworth thanked the program executive officers, mission partners, and the men and women of the 66 ABG for their support throughout his command.
“There is no challenge or crisis that can stand in your way,” he said. “Thank you for being the greatest teammates my family could ever serve with.”
As the commander of the 66 ABG, Stephens is responsible for securing, supporting and sustaining more than 5,000 active duty, Reserve and National Guard personnel, Defense Department civilians and contractors, along with 130,000 retired military and spouses living in the six-state New England region and New York.