Retiring Medical commander reflects on 30-year career

  • Published
  • By Lauren Russell
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Col. Mark Oordt, 66th Medical Squadron commander, is slated to retire from the Air Force July 9 after 30 years of service.

Since taking command of the Hanscom medical facility in 2019, Oordt oversaw nine flights and the care of more than 6,000 beneficiaries, and led the clinic through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our medics were front and center throughout this crisis,” said Oordt, a Denver, Colorado, native. “To be able to lead such outstanding Airmen with such an important mission, and to see them shine, was an honor and an awesome way to finish a career.”

Oordt was working on a doctorate in psychology when he joined the Air Force in 1991. A four-year internship commitment seemed like the perfect way to finish his education and prepare him for the civilian world. Before he knew it, nine years had passed.

“There were just such great opportunities for assignments, training, and work that I never wanted to turn them down,” he said. “There was just never a point where it made sense to do something different.”

Besides his passion for studying and practicing psychology, Oordt said the people and the mission had the most pull on his decision.

“What truly kept me in was the common sense-of-mission and knowing that while we are taking care of Airmen and their families, we’re also taking care of our larger community, and serving our national security,” he said.

Oordt encourages all Airmen to seek out what they’re interested in throughout their careers, but not try to control it too much.

“Some things will go your way and some will go another, whether it’s assignments or promotions, and that’s okay,” he said. “The Air Force has a way of taking you some place you may not have chosen for yourself, and it can be better than you imagined.”

Oordt will retire in an official ceremony July 9 at 3 p.m. at the Minuteman Commons here before moving outside San Antonio, Texas, with his wife.

As his time in the Air Force comes to an end, he said he feels the Air Force Medical Service is in good hands, given the Airmen who are serving now.

“They’ve chosen a noble and important role to play for our nation,” said Oordt. “Whether they choose to serve one tour or a full career, medics and their families deserve a lot of credit for how they impact the rest of us.”