66 ABW honorary commander visits, tours base

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Clinton Atkins
  • 66th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
The 66th Air Base Wing leadership hosted their new honorary commander with a tour of various 66 ABW-affiliated units Jan. 12.

The new honorary commander, Christine Schuster, Emerson Hospital president and chief executive officer, gained the title during the Honorary Commanders' Induction ceremony at the Minuteman Club on Oct. 24.

"Building strong relationships between Air Force installations and the civilian communities outside the fence has always been a mutually advantageous endeavor," said Col. Tom Schluckebier, 66 ABW commander.

Echoing his sentiments, Ms. Schuster said, "I look at people here as part of a health care community that I am charged with serving well, and I want to be able to build a bridge.

"For the time that people are here, I want to take care of them, I want them to feel like they're a part of this health care community and we want to serve them better," she said.

The first stop on the tour included a briefing on the functions of 66 ABW and its support role to the Electronic Systems Center and the surrounding geographically separated units.

After learning what the wing did, she embarked on a tour of the base to witness exactly how 66 ABW personnel contribute to Hanscom's daily operations and the Air Force mission.

Ms. Schuster explored the command post, communications center and the Fitness and Sports Center.

The tour also took her to Camp Patriot where she learned about base readiness exercises and what Airmen at Hanscom do to prepare for deployment.

"I liked Camp Patriot a lot," Ms. Schuster said. "It's a good thing that we are training people to take care of themselves and others when they have to [deploy], and I think that giving people skills to take with them is really important."

After learning about deployment readiness at Camp Patriot, Ms. Schuster traveled to the Hanscom Fire Department and then to the 66th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog section. At the kennel facility, she learned about the duties of the MWD handlers and witnessed a MWD demonstration.

After the 66 ABW honorary commander visited the new on-base housing development area, she toured the base facility she could best relate to -- the Hanscom Medical Clinic.
At the clinic, she learned about the various functions and services the clinic offers.
After the tour was finished, she went to a luncheon at the Minuteman Club with the 66 ABW group and squadron commanders.

Ms. Schuster was very enthusiastic when she spoke of her tour of Hanscom.

"I think [Hanscom] is great," she said. "In each area we've been in, there has been a great community spirit.

"Clearly, everyone I have spoke to has pride in the work they do -- whether it's the dog training, up at Camp Patriot or at the medical clinic," Ms. Schuster said. "I felt that in each job people were committed to what they were doing. They were enthusiastic about it, their places were very organized, very clean and the people are just nice."

During her stint as an honorary commander, Ms. Schuster hopes to meet the needs of the servicemembers on Hanscom.

"Hanscom is a part of the community that my hospital serves, so I want to learn more about how things work here," Ms. Schuster said. "I want to learn more about what the needs are here from a health care perspective in terms of how we can work together to meet the needs of Hanscom.

"It really is a responsibility for me and my hospital to meet the heath care needs of this community," she said.

Ms. Schuster said she looks forward to a bright future in helping and working with Hanscom during her time as the 66 ABW honorary commander.